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The Resurrection of Captain John Brown

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.



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