In my defense, my forgotten breasts. In my defense, the hair
no one brushed from my face. In my defense, my hips.
Months earlier, I remembered thinking that sex was a ship retreating
on the horizon. I could do nothing but shove my feet in sand.
I missed all the things loneliness taught me: eyes that follow you
crossing a room, hands that find their home on you. To be noticed. Even.
In my defense, his hands. In my defense, his arms. In my defense,
how when we just sat listening to each other breathe, he said, This is enough.
My body was a house I had closed for the winter. It shouldn’t have been
that difficult, empty as it was. Still, I stared hard as I snapped off the lights.
My body was specter which haunted me, appearing when I stripped
in the bathroom, when I crawled into empty beds, when it rained.
My body was abandoned construction, restoration scaffolding
which became permanent. My body’s unfinished became its finished.
So in my defense, when he touched me the lights of my body came on.
In my defense, the windows were thrown open. In my defense, spring.
— Cristin O’keefe Aptowicz, “Not Doing Something Wrong Isn’t the Same as Doing Something Right,” from The Year of No Mistakes (Write Bloody Publishing, 2013)