Directional Points It takes too much to prepare this body. It takes too much to be in this body, a lemon of an Oldsmobile,
each inch forward a drag. A hulk. A huff. “Learn to love yourself more,” the horoscope girls say. “The flesh is a place
of potential for pleasure.” The potential for what now, I think in the center of a step, the rusted scissors of my legs forced open.
And here is the point of sharpness. We’re supposed to see the body only as bright, as a bulb incandescing at our command;
with hushed expectation we are to turn our own body naked in the mirror, we agree to see nothing other than light.
I argue, darkly. I hear the shadow in my own voice. I can love it then: the self as a force that fails me, the body as the night
after Christmas, the glory of torn paper and ash, a room where the hope is gone. What you must call a gift remains.
-- Emma Bolden is the author of a memoir, The Tiger and the Cage (Soft Skull), and the poetry collections House Is an Enigma, medi(t)ations, and Maleficae. Her work has appeared in such journals as the Mississippi Review, The Rumpus, StoryQuarterly, Prairie Schooner, New Madrid, TriQuarterly, Shenandoah, and the Greensboro Review. The recipient of an NEA Fellowship, she is an editor of Screen Door Review.