Body Loves to Gamble

By Ayla Sullivan


body makes wager with mirror
“if I’m not afraid of you by the end of the day, I’ll stop hiding you behind love notes the Internet said would help”
body is groaning
stomach, tight lipped around a secret
the old secret
he has forgotten what breakfast is, what dinner is
starts calling the stranger spending the night “meal”
doesn’t notice how often the stranger is gone
or if it stays, even

hips shrink
ass stays silent
shoulders do what they were taught, bend

body makes wager with men
“if you don’t fuck with me, i won’t fuck with you”
body loses
keeps track of eyes and comments just enough to not start a lawsuit, but eventually support one
catalogues the calling, the touching, the yelling, the following
body keeps losing

body makes wager with night
“If you protect me once, I’ll never ask again.”
body keeps asking anyway
knows faith is the only thing that can protect us
knows it is dying every night or in broad daylight just in different bodies
body knows this version ain’t on a list yet, far enough from it to still be scared but not ready
knows that staying here, without transition, makes it easier to avoid beatings

body makes a wager with you
“if you can go years without asking for evidence it happened and believe me, maybe I’ll stop telling you. I’ll stop writing. I’ll stop filming. I’ll stop screaming. I’ll stop begging. I’ll stop. I’ll stop. Stop. Stop. Please.”
body forgets how to say stop
body don’t know how to say no
body is winning the bet
body tired of you seeing the signs, seeing the facebook live videos, the dash cam, the hearings, the recordings, the wrong place/wrong time, the hands, the blood, the gun, the blood, the fight, the cut, the blood, the blood, the death, the young, the dead young, the blood, the child, the gun, the mother, the blood, the blood

body asks
“aren’t you tired of losing? I am.”



Ayla Sullivan is the Denver Youth Poet Laureate and proud lifelong resident of Denver. They are studying Theatre and Secondary English Education at CU Boulder, where this summer they are in the acting company for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival.

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