One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.
–Simone de Beauvoir
I was raised by wolves and I learned
to eat earth. I was raised by a bottle
I found washed up by my hut,
a cursive message rolled up inside it,
and I started tucking scraps of paper
down my throat: mantras, surges
of hope and hopelessness,
detailed records of everything
I’d eaten that day. I rolled myself out
to sea. I was raised by a Queen record,
spinning under needle until my body popped
and cracked with music and people danced to me.
I was raised by vending machines
and I learned to excavate myself for quarters.
I was raised by flame and I became flame.
I was raised by debt and I became debt.
I was raised by men, but instead, I raised
myself up, both skirt and wind, and unlearned.