Body is a map

“If my body were a map, where would it lead?”, “Starbucks on a Sunday” and “Waiting for ‘Yes'”

In Poetry Issue Four by Christian Perry

If my body were a map

If my body were a map, where would it lead?

To have a destination there has to be
a beginning and an end.
But that depends on your perspective,
I guess.

Technically, there are five points
where you could start the journey
to where the x marks the spot
in the middle of the body.
Each beginning leads to the same place,
but each journey tells a different story.

If you started in my left foot
you would start with the life that overcame.
You would see a soccer player who gets to say,
“I was on varsity all four years,”
but only because the school was too small
to cut players from the team.
You would meet the professional benchwarmer,
who became a left dominant person,
so that they could get off the bench.
You would see the life that learned and adapted
to achieve the goal that would lead to fulfillment.

If you started in my right hand
you would start with the life that came with ease.
You would see, very simply, the kid that wrote.
And wrote, and wrote, and wrote.
Until their hands cramped from overuse
and their back ached and screamed for better posture.
The kid that realized that
life without passion, isn’t life.

If you started in my right foot or my left hand
you would see the pain that a kid smaller
than 5’6” their whole life has felt.
A twice broken ulna, and several lost toenails,
bruised shins and bloody wrists,
scars from second degree burns and popped blisters.
You would meet the child grappling with
physical and emotional trauma,
learning to find joy in the smallest of things:
the sun, the clouds, the colors of nature,
a glass of water,
and sleep.

And, if you didn’t want to start in any of those
four places, or follow any of those paths to where
the x marks the spot. You could start at my head,
where my humanity reaches out to the universe
like an infant yearning for its parent.
On this last path to the center, you would meet
the kid who is realizing that reality is not just
what their parents told them growing up.
The kid who is still on a path to discovery.
The kid who questions what it means to be
a member of society that raises up hate
for difference, instead of love for one another.

All of these paths. Adaptation, passion
pain, abuse, and self-discovery.
All lead to the same place, the center, the soul,
the middle of my existence where every
memory and experience that my life has contained
conjoins into an overwhelming mess of chaos
and excitement. But this place is not physical.
And this place is anything but an end.
Each path leads to this turnpike roundabout
sending each traveler down a new path.

My body is a map of just beginnings, where
the ends are in the bodies of others.
Where other’s experiences in my life
lead to completing stories of adaptation,
passion, pain, abuse, and self-discovery.


Starbucks on a Sunday

white chucks
with white laces
red trim
penny rolled cuffs
of medium blue
skinny jeans
the most petite, thinnest
legs, leading to
the most petite thighs
a red shirt
not like faded red
but the red of fire
the red of the setting
sun after a long day
with black trim
not thin, but thick
lining every hole
covered by jeans
maybe two shades lighter
but not acid washed
with green buttons
but not like grass
like green that has
the ability to envelope
and hold and deep enough
to fall head first into
a small amount of scruff
only enough to know
that they are
post pubescent
the purest eyes
the deepest brown
you’ll ever feel
exuding both
light and warmth
just by a flutter
of the most perfect
eyelashes
and while the undercut
is so common the curls
that exist en masse
sit like wisps of brown heaven
this human is Aphrodite
this person is a stranger.


Waiting for “Yes”

To write about the morning
is to kill the beauty of
creation

To take a portrait of the morning
is to kill the beauty of
transition

To sleep until the morning
is to kill the beauty of
perspective

When I woke
and he was the only thing I saw
I knew that I was in love

Not the love
that is clasped onto and held
forever and ever and ever

The love that
looks like the sunrise mountains
The love that
smells like crisp fall air
The love that
punches you in the face
The love that
sounds like terribly annoying chickadee’s chirp
The love that
you never ever ever get tired of
The love that
you never ever ever complain about
The love that
nobody ever ever tells you exists

The sun was what woke me;
poles of light crashing through
perfectly still morning life.
The repetitive in, out,
in, out
in, out
down, up
up, down
in, out
up, in
down, out
of his chest was mesmerizing
for a while I watched his body live.

But it was over in a moment that
happened so fast that
seemed to invalidate any time that
had passed since the sun
had violently harassed me.

A turn of the head,
a flutter of eyelashes,
the striking green irises
hold the keys to all perception,
and leave me wondering
“Am I loved in return?”
A slow-formed smile
does quick to qualm but
is not the same
as an even quicker
“Yes.”

Love which looks like
the trees that hold the key to
the sunrise just behind the
approaching dawn.

The rising of the sun
at dawn.
The yes
that will come with time.
The unspoken knowledge
that apparently everyone knows.
Lives behind doors
of green.
Don’t write.
Don’t photograph.
Don’t sleep through.
Experience life in the stillness.
and Learn.

About the Author

Christian Perry

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My name is Christian M. Perry, I am an unpublished poet currently cultivating and creating a voice for myself and my writing. I am in my third year of undergraduate studies at Michigan State University majoring in English, and minoring in LGBTQ+ Studies and Mathematics. Often my writing tries to leap over the boundaries that separate art, science, and the human experience.