by Alizée Chesnoy
Curious is the way I look at myself sometimes; how I catch my reflection and stop, head cocked to the side. A slow spin. Expanses of skin moving with breath, the fold of fabric, the broken lines of limbs and spine. Eyes kind, quiet, all the things I cannot see. It is in the pauses – the outline of collarbone, the jagged round of knee.
Curious is the way my skin feels under my fingertips, splayed as wide as they can reach, reaching out to carved ribs and stretch marks and symmetrical freckles. It is the way they drum against curves and swallows, chart goose-bump triggers, read me like Braille, blind and careful until they aren’t. It is mapping out safe-places and no-man’s-lands; jagged frontiers on the edge of pleasure and on the cusp of pain.
Curious is behind closed doors, drawn curtains, blind angles, because curious is for me to be, not anyone else. It is sweat building at the nape of my neck because the heatwave is going strong still, and it is the warmest summer the city has known in decades, but not only for that. It is lights off, semi-darkness, the sunshine pooling through the blinds and painting stripes of shadow and flesh.
“Curious is the way my skin feels under my fingertips, splayed as wide as they can reach…”
Curious is the way I check my pulse points, fingers on wrist, on the place where jaw meets neck; listen to the thump-thump-thumping of blood and my pumping heart, wonder at the hummingbird flutter of it. Slower, fast again, like gasping for air, like making up a tune and running after it. It is making up my own rules and deciding not to play fair; it is greed and hunger and thirst that are only mine, wanting a taste of everything and tasting everything slowly. It is discovering I have a pulse point on my inner thigh.
Curious is reading between the lines, re-writing beautiful until it unravels. The bitten lips chapped dry and the twisted tongue, the skin splayed open. It is how I learn my body’s language, discover what melts it into earthquake. It is wondering if I can play myself into a different sort of instrument, off-kilter, cracked at the seams. It is picking locks with teeth, swallowing the noise back in my throat.
Curious is the way I look at myself sometimes; the way my eyes trip over shoulder and naked skin and meet my reflection head on. It is the wanting, the quiet, the selfish and the kind. It is the way I smile, like I know things you do not, and yet – like I have so much more to find out.
Alizée is a poet in Paris. When she isn’t writing, you’ll probably find her photographing street art, practicing sarcasm, and drinking unhealthy amounts of tea.