Tuesday Nov 21

natalie-bryant-rizzieri.jpg Natalie Bryant Rizzieri recently received her MFA from Lesley University.  Her work has appeared in Crab Orchard Review.  She divides her time between Sunnyside, New York, where she resides with her husband, and Armenia.  She is the founder of Friends of Warm Hearth, a group home for Armenian orphans with disabilities.
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You Wouldn’t Know Me
 
 
by the way I break green bottles in rain. By the way
I break green open, split aloe after I slice my finger,
 
fill bowls with juniper, broken glass. By the way
I couldn’t stay out of reach of his unruly hands no matter
 
how thin I slid beneath the couch. And I hate the desert
mostly for how it tries to teach me survival. So I head
 
for snow, ribs recall turnip soup and ginger tea as the veiled
body tolled. I’ve already survived. Do you want to know
 
how skin hung over hips like a sheet over furniture,
how breasts disappeared, or have I told you enough
 
by the way my blood freezes at the sound of the second
gospel, by the way this is still the one word I use to say
 
what happened. By the way I kept it secret, nine years,
laid motionless under stairs, counted water spots. 
 
Onyx eyes held down what shrunk to speak through silence. 
Lanced aloe prods skin to tell. It is this simple,
 
the hierarchy of fear: that my body is not my own, I am the one
who gave it away, will I – I will never learn to take it back.