you asked me to come home for christmas and i said

listen, i do not return to tell you
why i have returned. i return
to show you a passion-stained
body and a soft pink mouth.
i return to show you tenderness—
no, not to gift you the skin behind
my ears, but to dance in silk
rain, to let my grass-covered feet
track childhood through the house,
unapologetic. listen. there is nothing
left inside this room. none of it
belongs to me. not even my own
face in the mirror.

Shelbi Church is a poet based in Boston, MA. She earned her BFA in creative writing from Emerson College. Her work can be found in Hobart, the lickety~split, and 86 Logic.

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