Because

Because I am a woman

Because I am body with no mouth

Because I am breasts without heart

Because I am cunt unallowed to swell with blood

Because

Because open

Because no permission

Because someone has already checked out

Because a woman talking is just a woman talking

Because the word Queen comes unhinged in too many mouths

Because

Because I was 9 years old the first time

9 years old and a C cup

Because I was 11 years old

Because I was 13 years old

Because I was 16 years old

Because 23 years passed before I stepped into my body

Because 4 more came and went before I felt free enough to see it naked

Because this body is still not safe just for being this body

Because this body is still not mine

Because

Because not all men

Because enough men

Because yes, all women

Because I am angry

Because my angry unmakes my story

Because no one wants to hear another woman’s anger

Because too many women are angry

Because we are taught to channel that anger into production

Because we are production with too many willing directors

Because

Because this dam cannot unburst

Because it isn’t just women

Because too many people are unsafe in their bodies

Because intersection is still a quiet room

Because it hurts to be afraid so often

Because afraid hangs in our closets

Because taking it off the hanger can get you killed

Because keys gripped through knuckles

Because the knife my father gave me

Because the comfort it allows

Because I work at night

Because every woman in this room knows

Because I don’t even have to say what it is that they know

Because

Because my value is measured by what my body can give

Because that value must be earned

Because my body

Because woman

Because I have no answers

Because my own mother said I was asking for it

Because wolves

Because predator

Because there is no safe space

Because I am running out of places to hide my trust

Because I am running out of trust

Because I am running

Because

Because this is the only story I know how to tell

Because it is my story

Because it is our story

Because our story is so fucking long

Because I have learned to end before I am ended

Because I am not done

Because yes

Because all women

Because

Because the question has yet to be posed

Because the question is always asked, even in silence

Because the question 

Why?

Why so much rage? Why dwell on this? Why not let it go? Why not bloom? Why not pretty? Why not quiet? Why loud? Why scream? Why bandwagon? Why feminist? Why not humanist? Why weep? Why not carry? Why not smile? Why? Why hurt when you could smile? Why too much? Why not enough? Why occupy? Why not slide into possession? Why YOURS? Why not mine? Why not mine? Why not mine???

Because. Because mine. Mine. 

Melissa May is a Youth-In-Crisis worker, ex-preacher, body positivity/body justice activist, cat-call devourer, general unraveler of the patriarchy, and salty feminist sass-mouth. She has been a competitive spoken word artist since 2008, and has been both a multi-time Women of the World Poetry Slam finalist as well as the 3rd ranked poet in the world at the Individual World Poetry Slam in 2012. Melissa is a reclamation specialist – focused inwardly and outwardly on body and language reclamation. A large portion of her work focuses on the body and the language we use culturally to speak to and about our bodies. Her newly released book, SparkleFat, hones in on and challenges the ways in which we formulate thought and idea around aspects of our body we have been taught to be ashamed of. Melissa is a fierce and dedicated lover of people. She doesn’t mind if you look, really.

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