JJ Lynne


The days cut away at me
       the way the neighbor woman
cuts away at her shrubbery,
       using manicuring scissors
to trim each stem to a shiv,
       making topiaries of the once
wild anatomies tamed by
       her hand. I am shaved into
the shape of a woman, hips
       wide as a Cheshire cat smile—
ideal for child bearing,
       so they say. Each day pulls
at my age in an attempt to spin
       gold out of strands going grey,
that sliver of silver tree-tinsel
       spray sprouting up at the roots.
Days, must you be so cruel—
       to carve a womb primed
for life that I do not wish
       to give life to? People
reserve the right to tell me
       I am a drought-spoiled basin
waiting to be filled, but I
       prefer to scrub this bone-dry
porcelain with vinegar and
       lemon juice. I am a body
of proof, a tree to be engraved
.        One of these days, I will be
notched in the wrong place,
       chipped away at like nail lacquer
procured from the sale bin.
       What will be left then? An empty
vase, standing legless? A coat rack
       without prongs or purpose? A woman,
backbone intact, but still somehow
       spineless? The days slash at me,
seemingly without precision,
       and yet I trust that in time they
will sculpt me two capable hands
       for building sandcastles and sawing
myself into a silhouette that I can stand.

JJ Lynne is a poet and photographer who makes a living as owner of the popular Etsy shop All You Need is Pug. Her artwork has appeared in CALYX, Muzzle, PANK, and The Brooklyn Quarterly. Her writing has appeared in apt, Hobart, A Narrow Fellow, Spry, and Stirring, among others. JJ is co-editor of poetry for the literary journal Paper Nautilus.

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