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self-portrait as preexisting conditions

in Breaking/Identity by

    how swiftly the body becomes     an excuse // collection of reasons
for its own abandonment     becomes diagnosis     checkmarks blooming
    across my palms     will saint peter ask to see [my hands]     judge me
for the sins this body has committed     mother mary // scars on my wrists
    my spine a cracked rosary     my eyelids a thin bloody veil
how trauma repeats in my skull // like supplication     this body named
    [whore / messiah]     i am damned for the cock & breast of me
for the split-mind of me     for the hunger of my liver
    for the muscles howl     i read the list of reasons // i will be left
to afford survival     my body’s failures curl on my tongue     loose syllables
    of a prayer     our father // who forbids us heaven
hallowed be thy name     when the fools & the bankers count their coins
    may they bite for gold     & break their teeth


Read More:
50 Health Issues That Count as a Pre-existing Condition [Time]
Here’s What’s in the House-Approved Health Care Bill [NPR]

torrin a. greathouse is a genderqueer, cripple-punk from Southern California. They are the Editor-in-Chief of Black Napkin Press. Their work has been published or is forthcoming in Lunch Ticket, 3Elements Review, & Assaracus. They are a 2016 Best New Poets, Bettering American Poetry, and Pushcart Prize nominee, and semifinalist for the Adroit Poetry Prize. torrin’s first chapbook, Therǝ is a Case That I Ɐm, is forthcoming from Damaged Goods Press in 2017. 

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