Body and Heart by Faith Crawford

I think my body feels heavy from the weight of the hands that have touched me. It has taken me too long to learn the difference between holding body and heart; I’m still trying to scrub your fingerprints from my skin. My heart longs to be lifted. Too many hands have held my skin too tightly, and the bruises they’ve left behind spell out shame too dark to fade.

Shame is not a solitary feeling. The cold hands of shame come only from outside myself; wrapping around my waist, freezing blood and shaking dried lungs. I cough but no sound comes out. I let shame freeze over bruises, for fear that I was the one who put them there in the first place. My body tried so hard to adjust to the temperature- turn cold hands warm, to convince myself body and heart were one. Only now have I begun to notice: I’ve never stopped shivering, I just got better at ignoring it.

Maybe scars don’t have to be gone to be healed. I’ve found myself shivering less lately, letting the gap between body and heart fill itself with sunlight; wet spring air, soft hands tracing hearts in the condensation on my skin.

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