On bodies Combusting By Alex Clendenning Jiménez

On bodies Combusting

If Prometheus molded all humans
out of clay, with their perfect bodies
shaped to fit the perfect world
they had yet to destroy, then my body
would be made of dirt, better fit for
the underworld filled of silver keys
and golden rings.

One: At eleven, I didn’t know
what puberty was, didn’t understand
why the other girls would begin to cover
their chests whenever others walked into
the changing room, I mean, we were all
girls, right? What’s so wrong with that?

Two: At twelve, I bled through my pants
in Science class, leaving a faded brown
stain on the chair, I was sitting in the second
row of the classroom, the seat farthest from
the door. I was lucky class still hadn’t started
and ran to the bathroom.

Three: At fifteen, I binded in public, with my
black t-shirt and cargo pants that were my
younger brother’s. I snapped at my mother,
“You can’t even notice my breasts anyways,
so why can’t I do this?” She snapped back,
“Of course you can tell.”

Four: At fifteen, I realized my body was not fit
for me, soft curves are not meant
to be accentuated if you don’t have the
height to match it, a small chest only
fits if you’re comfortable enough
in this skin-stained, ink-stained,
holding-tight-enough-to-suffocate body.

Five: At seventeen, I realized my body would drip
golden ichor from the three-year-old self-inflicted
scars on my forearm, it would consider
how to love itself while simultaneously tearing
open all of the wounds I had decided were
too big for Pandora’s box.

Six: At seventeen, I realized my body was not
a temple, it was not to be worshipped
through fresh spring water or crushed flower petals,
my body would not be worshipped by followers
that claimed my blood would give them immortality.

Instead, my body is one that threatens
to scrape the skies, my fingernails claw
at every star, consider each constellation’s weight
in silver, trades old ones for galaxies
to see what else I can hold.

My body considers the possibility
of breaking chains, tying itself up
in ribbons of yellow and purple
and black, expressing my lack of gender

Through muted pastel sweaters dug
from the Free Box, one teacher commenting
how they, not she, are a pleasure in class,
long, flowery skirts, and young boys’ dress shirts.

My body is one one that will drape
itself in Saturn’s golden rings and
Pluto’s iciest nights, comb holy water
into my hair and douse my skin in vanilla perfume.

If Prometheus molded all humans
out of clay, with their perfect bodies
shaped to fit the perfect world they
have yet to destroy, my body would
sink into cracks of the underworld,
swallow pomegranate seeds with
no regret, and consider living for once.

By Alex Clendenning Jiménez


Alex Clendenning Jiménez was born in New Orleans and raised in New York, Brazil, and Spain. They completed Emerson College’s pre-college Creative Writers Workshop in the summer of 2016. They are a junior at Idyllwild Arts Academy in Idyllwild, California, studying creative writing and are currently a member of the editorial staff of Parallax Literary Magazine. Alex’s writing and poetry has appeared in Idyllwild Arts Academy’s newsletter The Yeti, and has received an honorable mention in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.

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