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Eleanor Claire


Eleanor Claire is a South Florida native who works as a Crisis Counselor in Chicago. She studied poetry at the University of Miami under Maureen Seaton and John Murillo. Her work can be seen in Mad Hat Literary Magazine, Verity La, Black Heart Magazine, The Cape Rock, and others.


teach us what it means
to claim a body
to find your own
hands, bloodstained and
weather-worn, to recognize
the little histories
burned into your fingerprints, whorls
and archs like
muscle-memory, like your
hands already know the sign
language to denounce
these war-torn lands

teach us how to name
each inch of skin its
own geography, staking
claim to these broken
shoulders, these contorted
spines, the knotted scar
tissue beneath the places
we have been sewn
back together, haphazardly
seamed into patchwork
creatures, pieces unfamiliar

teach us that consummate
break, the schism between
ball and socket,
between ligament and
bone, between tendons so
you can finally contort yourself
into the familiar shapes that
have imprinted themselves
into your bones, into
your chemistry

teach us, silently at first, which
vowels hold power, how
to pronounce recognition;
teach us how to
claim this body,
how to steady our voices
when we finally answer
this is my body
this is my blood


await the benediction
of memory
grind your teeth and
try to recall the taste
of your own spit
that summer

as if nothing could
feel as bittersweet
as the honeysuckle tea
dried on your lips
while you transformed
stained glass
into ruins

or the sand against
your bare feet
when you wanted
to drown in the ocean
or be swallowed whole

come home into
this foreign body
fed now, on years
of ripened pears,
thunderstorms & candlelight
filled with harvest moons
and whispers in sawgrass

come home into
this foreign body
come home and
take down the
hurricane shutters
let them fold their
own limbs over & over
for it has been years
since the last storm

the air smelled
different then,
fresh cut grass
and sunscreen
and when the rain
finally comes,
bittersweet and warm
it will not feel the same
it will not taste
of that summer

but there will be
a single moment
where the pitter patter
of morse code on the roof
spells out your mother’s
name, or mimics your
sister’s footsteps down
the hallway, and perhaps,
in that moment,
it will not hurt

or perhaps we never
can outgrow that
original ache
once it settles into
our bone marrow
perhaps all those
little fissures remain,
a palimpsest scrawled
into femurs and sternums
to be read over & over
by a lover memorizing
the lilt of your spine,
or how to pronounce
your every fear
perhaps they will
draw the bitterness
from your blood
and let you rest
after recounting
the summer’s storms
and perhaps,
one day
you’ll tolerate
the feel of rain
on your skin
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