Heavy Things

I keep on
lifting heavy things
you shove at me
keep putting them down only to find my
hands full the weight of your words your
closed grip pulling me down saying
stay down
the weight of your spite
burying me

Stay down
you say the strength I’ve gained
is no boon–
these muscles can’t strike back
these muscles can only rep, lift and lower
only lengthen and tense,
only curve around my bones can only bear
the load of each strike until I’m sunk

Stay down
spine bowed beneath the cages
no breath left in the belly no core
stability to speak of.You took my words
and turned them into sideways promises
twisted my iron and broke
my binding,
chalked my outline
put me in it, shouted for me to
stay down,

Stay down
every minute on the minute
kettle bell bruising heavy on
my heart stay down
stay down
and I keep lifting keep swinging
keep gaining but no strength
can balance me floor to overhead

Stay down
even if I’ve raised
you it is always you against me
you adding weight you testing
the mat to see if it will bear
my stamp when I am finally, mightily

want this
you want me to
stay down
and I want you to please stop
stay down
stay down stay

Another version of this poem was published on Steemit.com.

Shawna Ayoub

Shawna Ayoub is an essayist, fiction writer, poet and instructor with an MFA in creative writing from Indiana University. Some of her work has been published in The Manifest-Station, Role Reboot, [wherever], The Huffington Post, The Oxford Review and Exit 7. Her writing explores the intersections of race, place and survivorship. She writes with honesty about her own experience in order to transform pain.

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