Unveiled by Oliver Moore

What Sighs Beneath by Glenn W. Cooper | Pinterest | Facebook | Blind Dog Press


do not watch me:
i do not undress for you.

i) the first layer –
i shred names
and words and ways
that are not my own.
the scraps fall,
my own snakeskin

ii) the worst layer.
two of everything
yet nothing to claim.
two options, no choices
dichotomy, binary, two.
unlearning duality and juxtaposition;
unlearning myself.

iii) i said – don’t watch.
ungaze, engage.
i slip off my underwear
in the moonlight.
flimsy, flirtatious.

a naked spotlight,
a bare bulb ready to grow –
burst forth from the frosty ground
and bloom –

iv) i unname myself
unmould my body
reshape and remake a way of speaking
patched together
from scraps of vocabulary.
speaking without saying.
naming without explaining.
i mince my sentences
butcher myself
tiptoe around topics
become a small child

v) like anything earth-shattering
(or not shattering at all)
it takes time to rebuild.
to painstakingly retrieve
the slivers of oneself
scattered to the winds
in moments of recklessness
and piece them back together
in a new and unfamiliar shape.
and sometimes it is only after
you have gathered all the fragments
that you realise some were not
at all.

vi) please, don’t look
let me keep my contours and crevices hidden
i am not ashamed,
but they are not mine.
together, we hide in plain sight.

vii) i rename, reshape, rebecome
to look both ways when crossing the street,
to swallow a handful of pills every morning,
to return phone calls, to text back,
to remember an umbrella, a jumper, appointments,
to breathe.

my body is mine and mine alone
i have fought for it:
tooth and nail, kicking and screaming
sharpened claws, shackles raised
i have made it myself
my own

maybe one day, i will let you see.

Oliver Moore

Oliver Moore is a PhD candidate in English Literature at the University of Sydney. They have been previously published in Voiceworks, Tide, Hermes, and a myriad of other places. They like books, dogs, and the ocean, and tweet @olliem_.