Bronwyn Valentine

Fat Body Commons

I forgo all touch of myself for some months     for so much
distraction of we and they and you     I touch tea with
my mouth when so far hot that then I must recall the body
that I reenter myself from far within a room     banana
and avocado and gold potato gone too far     and fruit flies
emerging from nowhere     I summon the body of the I
for I should have a body     for I am in the room of myself
in the body of the I     I go forth into the world for I am
fully embodied     In the world I am the fullness of the I
I say to the I I am here! I say to the I I am the I!     for I am
the fat of the body that is my own body     I am the I
of the world and the fat and the body of the world
I bring forth the most foods for I eat for the I and I eat
that I am     the devourer of the I and the food and the world
The I saying feed me! for I am hungry     The I saying yum!
as I lick fingers palms and mouth

All the old men of the world want to rename the I
The men say sunshine instead of I or fatty or sweetheart or
piggy bitch or hey you     How awful the men of the world
wanting to you the I how awful     This is not about you
I say I am not what you say for I am the I!     But the men
touch my arms and squeeze my shoulders     The men
say so much about sugar     and how to eat and not eat
and what to eat and what not to   and so much about pretty
faces     but what even is the face of the I     or how even
could it be called pretty when it is itself the seat of the mouth
that bites and screams and eats   The old men coming
into my face that I smell old man breath     The old men not
letting me forget that I am a body inhabiting the I

Oh my I I say to the men oh I’m sorry     I hermit far within
a room for to disembody into a you for I am not the I
for I am nothing     I let the foods of the world go too far
The I coming right up to the door     The I saying I AM
I AM I AM!     I say I am not     I disembody more that I
uninhabit the I completely     I go to sleep for a lot of time
for I eat nothing for I touch nothing     The I shuffling
on the other side of the door     picking the lock     creeping
into the room     turning on all of the lights     bringing me
a mirror     I look for I see the I and I see myself again
in the I     I turn all of the lights onto myself in the I
I am my body in the mirror that I am my body
in the light     I am myself in the room when I inhabit the I

In the I I remember my hunger     I fill my pot up with water
I pull out armfuls of food from the fridge
I eat soft boiled eggs with salt     The I is for the not quite
firm yolk     The I is for the meat I want the reddest meat
and the offal   The I is for the elder and goose and cloud
and strawberry and for all ovary fruits both false and true
The I saying more!     that I dig so far into my hunger
that I am my own full body that I praise the face of the I that
is my own     The I is for masturbation     The I is for my full
cunt wetness and bloodness     The I is for I lick
my fingers and my palms and my mouth     The I is for
I bite my tongue and cheek     The I is for I bruise and swell
and sweat and heal     The I is for the fat of my body
the shape of my embodiment in the world     I am not sorry
I say I am the I that I am that I am


Bronwyn Valentine is an MFA candidate at the University of Alabama and the editor of Black Warrior Review. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Jellyfish, Birdfeast, Banango Street, and ILK. She lives in Tuscaloosa.