One Day, My Body

Francesca Bell
| poetry


I’m tethered

since the man

on the ridge,


limited to the path

between the backyards

and the cemetery.


This body is a rope

that swings me

over want’s abyss.


I am weak, succulent,

a magnet for men

who hide in the woods.


I knew that trail

like the ridges of

my own body


that rose up

and changed



It was my ridge,

the way once

it was my body,


when I was


and invisible,


before possibility

unleashed itself,

month by month,


inside me. One day,

there was a stranger

on the trail


as one day,

my body curved

out of control


making men

do things

I regretted.


What makes a man

want a woman



or pinned,


beneath him?


It’s bright here

on the fire road

between gardens


and graves.

Vultures perch

on the chimneys,


wings spread

to the new day.

A deer’s carcass rests


in the creek beyond

the chain link.

I am safe here


in the open

among the already

always deceased.

Francesca Bell’s poems and translations appear in many magazines, including ELLE, Mid-American Review, New Ohio Review, North American Review, and Rattle. She is the co-translator of Palestinian poet Shatha Abu Hnaish’s collection, A Love That Hovers Like a Bedeviling Mosquito (Dar Fadaat, 2017), and the author of Bright Stain (Red Hen Press, 2019). She lives with her family in Northern California.

The Bone Saw Speaks
Body Horror