23 years and 6 minutes old


1. 23 Years and 6 minutes Old

I took a shower 
At 11.53pm
So that when I stepped from the steam
At 12.05am
I was 23 years and 5 minutes old

At 23 years and 5 minutes old
I stood naked but for the hot drips
Running down
Over skin just starting to tan
With the first heat of summer

I looked in undusted glass 
At breasts I’d like to see a little more of
And pelvic bones just beginning to push at skin
Thanks to slow will power
Over the hungry month of May

Wanted to be ready 
For the beach in August
When taking my imaginary trip
In imaginary bikini
With a lover not yet met

I scrutinised hard enough,
The inches of skin 
Not yet good enough for imaginary bikinis
Or unmet lovers’ hands,
That I noticed 
The silent evaporation of drips 

Then, at 12.06am 
Tormented insecurities of 22
Started to rise with the vapour
A new thought
23 years and 6 minutes in the making

23 years and 6 minutes old 
Is no age to be waiting for lovers 
Loveless or unmet 
To have the last word
In my worth and beauty
As though it is theirs,
To bestow upon me

Almost dry now
In the dusty glass
Is a girl standing on two feet
Who, in falling 
And, falteringly, finding her way
Back to stand on them again,
Has already such grace
It hangs, a halo
Around that masterpiece of imperfections
Vessel of power and emotion;
Her body
There need be no wait for confirmation,
It is already shining. 

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