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Poetry by Abigail Sims

The Shape of Recovery

On the mat, the body moves,
the body sings —
like stars.

We roll, we write poems, poems
poems again, with arms and legs,
twisted in sweat.

Ribcage to ribcage,
coiled around ink-dark thighs —
heavy flesh, slick, flexing.

We are laughing, shining,
because there is nothing we can hide;
nothing to hide, here.

I cannot pretend anything, with a shin on my throat,
with elbows webbed around my arm,
weakening, weakening —

Rolling is salvation, and I roll again,
again, again, untying your knots,
being solely: what I am.

The Cage

Crux, axis, time spun on a knife-edge
this moment all
swallows: everything.

Test will against will, field of sinew, bone.
Measured in fist, arm, footing
strain fingers against wrist.

Nothing is hidden, underhook to underhook
heart pounds. Your pride;
it is my own.

Snarl, spit-drip, sweatfall.
Scramble to takedown,
knee-shield, scarf.

Catch eyes; dread. Hunter, hunted. A pendulous,
upset moment — thighs snap shut, crush, roll.
Mat-nosed pain, breath, blood.

Cheek bruise, heavy, a stubborn fountainhead
hips scramble, align. Strength —
my gift to you. Animal.

In the moment of unseating, you smile what I feel.
In this — violent, sweat-sharp —
we live.

The Gentle Art

We speak here the language of flesh
against flesh, a brown-olive strain. The meated thigh flexes
thick with years, heavy as a cow’s thigh, powerful
as a steer is powerful. Horned and solid.
Jostling cattle, these men, wide and proud
dominance the only sure path —
to what, we do not know.
This strange intimacy of stranger bodies,
knowing your pain, the smell of your strength,
the strain of your breath, before barely
your name.

Abigail Sims

Twitter: @potentialyeti
Bluesky: @potentialyeti.bsky.social

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