• qmwproject

Free, by Zoë

i.


cover up.

you shouldn’t show your knees,

your shoulders, or your chest.

otherwise, you run the risk

of making men uncomfortable.

and of course, that’s your responsibility.


these words

pinned me down for far too long,

convincing me to believe

in a God that turns up His nose

at bare shoulders turning freckled

in the sunlight.


but slowly,

i started to shed those layers.

i started believing that my body

was made in the image of

a Goddess,

and therefore, it is Good.


now, i no longer hide.

i dance in the sunlight,

my shoulders turning red

from too many afternoons at the beach.

but, it doesn’t concern me

because now i feel

free.


ii.


i flew across the country as

august took its last breath

and arrived in a place

where the air sucks the moisture

from my body.

and in this place,

that holy, well-loved body

is once again

indecent.


but all those years of

dancing in the sun has

built up a thick skin.

the pointed looks and outdated rules

roll right off my sun-tanned back.


instead, new words

have chained up my heart,

put there not by me,

but by an institution

that cares more for

the comfort of its donors

than the student with

an enamel rainbow pin.


they go:


cover up.

you shouldn’t show your humanity,

your love, or your pride.

otherwise, you run the risk

of making us uncomfortable.

and of course, that’s your responsibility.


iii.


these words

are trying to pin me down,

trying to convince me to believe

in a God that turns up Their nose

at two women sharing kisses

in the sunlight.


but forcefully,

i’m trying to reject those layers.

i’m trying to believe that my love

was made in the image of

Divinity, who is love.

and therefore, i am Good.


someday, i will no longer hide.

i will dance in the sunlight with a girl,

our cheeks turning red

from too much belly-aching laughter.

those who call for muskets won’t concern me

because finally, i’ll feel

free.





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