Graphite sketch of Clerodendrum Quadriloculare 1 in dark green

The Spaces in Sunlight

Originally published by Celestite Poetry

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  • CW for reference to sexual violence/rape

The Spaces in Sunlight, Celestite Poetry

Originally published by Celestite Poetry, September 2021, Issue 1, pp. 42-43
Pea Flower Tomioka

The Spaces in Sunlight

I don't know how to tell you who I am.
It's not easy to begin when my blooming scatters to seed
Eroding beauty with the age of windstorms
I am undone before you.

I don't know how to see myself anymore.
Sensory slightness to blind bat my womanhood to the bathroom in blackness lest my ghosts haunt my mirrors
Makeup brushes left dusting cobwebs instead of mica kissed apples adorning my smile
You will not know the contoured lines of my bones.
I am invisible in my own skin.

I don't know how to love you anymore.
Your patience with my pull away quickening breath for all the wrong reasons
Or how the pity looks like love, but it's still pity.
It raises me to rage because while I wish you none of this,
I know you have never been raped. You don't know the taste of this ash.
You don't smother in this smoke.

But you look at me in flashback.
The chains that wrap me up like a hug I know is safe
because I paid for it at the automotive store that time where it felt like bees would thrum tear thin paper secrets in my skin to blow me
stardust to seed like dandelion puff wishing for a pure body-
Or even just one that was still mine.

I keep them in an old leather bag under our bed.
The chains, I mean. By which I mean, the weight of the road I still have ahead of me linked on my skin, and not the weight of your face as it falls when my flinch says
you may not touch me tonight.
Not tonight.
My hands are still dangerous.

I don't know how to tell you that I love you in a way that means enough to be loved by you.
I hope that the spaces between the breaths that blow these windstorms are echoed in your heart. I hope they fill you with the sunlight I turn my face into when you smile at me in those stolen ways. How I feel the warmth of you on my upturned eyelids.
A midsummer kiss on my brow to soothe me when I'm convinced
you would not have me in this broken way.

Not the way you deserve me to, which is unbidden, unbridled- or even just unabused,
but all of the time.
And not just in our sunlit spaces,
as though my sex were a trinket I can offer up in trade for the safety of your arms.

But here I am. In darkness.
Trying to love me the way you love me in sunlight.

Tomioka, Pea Flower. "The Spaces in Sunlight." Celestite Poetry, pp. 42-43, September 2021.
Handwritten, cursive signature says "pea flower tea" in lowercase letters. The flower is a small sketch of a bloom, instead of the word for "flower".

About the author

Pea is an artist focused on building an art therapy platform through transformative art and positive erotica to help victims of sexual violence reclaim their power. She lives on a small island and hides from loud noises.