A History of the Body


Her body was clean
which is what we hoped for.

She had told me if you can claim
just one hole, then claim your mouth.

A near nine years later
I see two women huddled, talking.

It had made me think of her
exhausted, hunched behind the steering wheel.

Neither of us moved to open a door. She had told me
even these bodies are borrowed.

I looked at her arms flowered
purples and greens

like spring irises erupting
from the half-thawed ground

& when it came time, I didn’t want to look
at her, still fluids

harmonics caught—
I’ve seen dead bodies before

& the twins had flown down to wash her.
They said there were no bruises

but she had told me it
forms in all bodies

a sense, the sun too hard
on the skin, of doubt.

J.J. Starr studied at the NYU Creative Writing program in New York, where she was a Veterans Writer’s Workshop Fellow. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from ‘Drunken Boat,’ ‘The Wrath-Bearing Tree,’ and ‘The Shallow Ends.’ She lives in Brooklyn.
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