An Ode to My Hickies

Sweet sore discoloration worn proudly on my body,

screaming it’s okay to be sexual.

Yes, I am a young woman,

a woman whose neck has met the mouth of someone else.

My dear hickies,

I shall not hide you and all that you represent.

I raise my chin high after a night with my man,

not ashamed,

never ashamed,

despite social stigmas.

I raise my chin high

high enough to show the markings of possession sucked across my neck.

His markings of ownership,

which represent the power of my submission.

The strength I found through letting go,

in trusting him,

in loving him.

My beloved hickies,

marks upon my skin raising awareness of judgement.

Yes, I am a young woman

with hickies on my neck,

not afraid of being called young and dumb

or slut.

And the bruises left upon my skin are a reassurance,

a promise to my mind that I am loved.

A reminder that I am not alone.

Each time the soreness throbs in my neck

I feel him here.

I feel the desire to live, to love, to heal.