By Shulamit Sappire
our bodies are our first homes, if we are not safe in our bodies, we are always homeless. - Shailja Patel
this body is broken and withered,
it is unsafe.
it is not home,
there is no home with a body like this.
i don’t say this to be unkind.
this body with all its aches has gotten through
yes, it is occasionally more bruised,
sometimes with anger,
sometimes with a jagged softness.
mind over matter.
this body endures always,
this body carries always.
this body is searching for home
map the pain,
map the physical
map the mental
map the separation.
the tearing of what one once considered home
to the state of lostness, transience.
you say help
someone says “man you’re good, strong, you know how to handle this but hear my pain
cos i’m weaker,”
like i chose this life
like i died, got a second chance and said
yeah give me brokenness back because the first time wasn’t good enough.
ain’t it fucked up still when you are trying to say i’m more than this thing that won’t leave me.
but who am i without it.
when you’ve spent long being limited, you don’t know what it would feel like to be free.
so you love this body even when it shows no love.
you love this mind when it tells you you’re less than
because you know what it can do when it says you’re more than.
this body and i stand together,
unsafe and homeless
fighting for each other even when we are fighting against each
when i am asked what the days feel like
By Shulamit Sappire
days that halt you in your steps. days like broken. days like help in three diﬀerent languages. days like if i sit right here, i won’t have to do this again tomorrow. days like stop me now.
days that feel like unstoppable. like blessed & blessed. like ye & amen. like the body is one. days that don’t break. days that soar. days like you can’t stop me now. days like you can’t stop me ever. days like accomplished.
days like I’m here.
Shulamit Sappire is a Nigerian Israeli immigrant living & writing in Toronto. She co-owns a wellness business, Unchained Athletics, & is a legal worker in the Violence Against Women sector. Writing for her is about making sense of the world around and within her. Her work has appeared in With/Out Pretend (2019), Not For You (2019), and Toronto Prose Mill (2018).