Body Must Remember By Rain Wright

Body Must Remember

sometimes i wonder on my mother’s desires—

      desires beyond mothering warm children in early morning

rumpled beds and what wants her mother body knew about

      need held in woven muscles and harboring eager bones and

those moving salt oceans and craving stones in the body

but my aging woman’s body often gazed upon by flicking

      occasional eyes that judge a curve and crease,

my body knows desires on those long days that bones who

      grew daughters speak about the way water talks

with body skin and sweat and my mother’s

desires that maybe lay on tongues like that

      warm mint and that melted honey tea she served to

guests in chipped teacups with brown bread

      flour covering her kneading hands

as mouths filled with that last pool of sweet conversation

      on the bottom of leaving warmed and empty cups

what did she ask her longing skin to get at her own desires,

      to call desire to her full and yearning body

 that grew hips and clavicle – women’s blood and

tissue and wants because we do want and

want and sometimes i wonder on my,

my body and desire but I can’t ask my

long-dead mother for only half memories

            about aging and my woman’s body

but i haven’t lost her mother voice talking about

      knowing an aging body and me as enough so

enough that each current of blood is

      sticky electric on skin

like some deep beating music on

      longer nights when wind is warm and

yes it’s sweet and hot desire is

      like finally breathing and i ask about all

desires and love on my own body and the word

      love is like wanting much too much and

i let water into all the spaces of my body but

      my body won’t forget taste and my body must cry

for its own salt and i wonder at the space of

      my skin and touch and the water in others and i

forget an ocean and forget crying on mornings  

that don’t fit right and we laugh that we cry in this

      family – carrying our mother’s bones and old stories

and i forget and remember to hear the desire in silences

      sitting alone with memories of my mother’s song

records on high and loud and i don’t cry much

 and my mother always said to get it all out

      break open the chests and break it open on

monthly blooding sheets but when the body misses

      and age creates new body when it skips and maybe beats

on a different note and then what does this body need

      because my body knows relief and patterns in rituals

and the waves speak as memories of certain mother knowledge

      and a friend says wind is relief and we must breathe into

it and hear and feel our own body and the wind pushes

      the windows on the east of that house on nights that

don’t sleep and i don’t know the water of my body anymore

      and i don’t know salt on my tongue that

must miss the path of water over my breast and down legs

because i always remember the anger of angry men

      who formed my tongue in twisting flooded mouths

but my body must remember more than this violence

      left as a lost breath – the desire of its own heat and

and what of kindness and generous languages of

      love and touches that come through exposed

ribcages that know how to undo and

      unbraid from body and talk about love and play love

and playing in love – love grows into bones strung together

      broken and whole in sheltering body connections

that know and carry body in relationships

with mother voices who formed new bones from

      ancestors and their sounds of calling all

desires to a body – to my body

By Rain Wright


Rain Wright received her Ph.D. in English with a focus in creative writing from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. She currently teaches writing at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa as a lecturer.

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