By Charlotte Reed
“Let’s see what we can do.”
i am made of clay.
My body is lifeless, on the cold slab of a table.
I wish it was formless in this moment of observation.
He stands over me, a surgical mask on, eyes dark.
He stretches out my fingers, makes them long and lanky,
pushing my shoulders, broadening them.
I am no longer dainty.
He grabs my jaw, crushing it in his hand and when he moves away it is sharper, wider.
I am no longer delicate.
My legs are squeezed, the pressure shaping them,
they’re strong now.
My hips are a more complex problem-
child-rearing, birthing, easy hips for a baby to pass through.
They are crushed, shrunk, losing their shape.
I am no longer prepped and preened for motherhood.
My chest is decompressed, the air let out of it through a tube
until eventually it is flat, skin flapping loose where it used to be inflated,
what made me desirable now collapsed, unable to hold under the test of time.
Perhaps it is better this way, the observation on me less intense.
A mirror is hung directly above me.
The purpose of this unspoken; I think it is so I can see the progress on me.
My skin is sickly pale, losing the golden tan of experience,
the outdoors no longer a place I frequent.
I’ve been smoothed out, something desired by many, but it looks unnatural,
eyes meeting my own, sunken in a body that is not mine.
I miss the scars on me, the little nicks from where I fell as a child,
evidence of my humanity that has been poked and prodded until it is no more.
No one wants a body in their bed that is human.
He sees this, getting out his scalpel to recreate those nicks,
letting my sunken eyes track his movements in the mirror.
When he is done my body is my own-
nothing about it made for another.