Untitled Poem About Breaking

by Wren Donovan

Once I believed I was finding my toughness learning to trust
my own strength, to believe I wouldn’t break.  Now I see
I’m learning to accept that I am breaking always
breaking again and again broken
never ending never healed always healing
always breaking bleeding on a cycle with the moon
which is a rock that cracks ribs and opens sternum until
my heart stands out alone anatomically correct like
Frida’s heartbreak (she knew she was broken always
breaking).  Spinal column is a tower stacked and
penciled-in to topple.  I wear a vest of ribs and crown of
jagged skull, eyes barnacled and black.  Delicate bone
arches, ischium eye-socket symphysis clavicles
ossicles like turtle bones rattling premonitions.
Eyes tender fingers splayed my belly without armor,
my bones splinter flesh peels and I break again
and again.  My shell is calcified and brittle but
it cannot long resist the grinding waves against the
diamond sand.  And why Why break
so I can hold more, so I can hold no more
always filling never full, a vessel one with water.
To open and be opened to give way to receive and then again
eternal oyster mining pearls from pain and offering my soft
self on the half shell to feed lovers.  I will leave
the house walk out across the dry sand go down
to the wet edge of the waves the lacy rim of rhythm go
into the water the impersonal breakers.  I am the broken the breaking
the dissolution the dance.  I am the dance, then, and the dancer
a shell rolled in the sand until I am the sand itself
an emptiness emptying and filling.  I am
scattered scales of moonlight lost to daybreak.
Trust is beauty/terror brittle sweet.

Wren Donovan lives in Tennessee. Her poetry appears or is upcoming in Anti-Heroin Chic, Harpy Hybrid Review, Green Ink Poetry, Dillydoun Review, Cauldron Anthology, and elsewhere. She studied classics, literature, and folklore at Millsaps College, UNC-Chapel Hill, and University of Southern Mississippi. She reads Tarot and talks to cats.

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