Our first instinct to probe their bodies,
schedule various -scopies and exams
to see if the “me” of ourselves matched
the “me” of their flesh.
They politely declined, of course,
dropping their eyes in quiet shame
for us. Outside, Marine brigades
and helicopters pranced like
Cortez’s cavalry before the Aztecs.
The field notes read “non-compliant,”
“refused,” “denied.” The field notes
scrawled in shaky red ink.
But when they touched us lightly
on the tops of our hands, the way
our mothers once did—a comfort
that blanketed us even as we asked
them again and again to disrobe,
to say “ah”—we knew then exactly
how they admired our bodies
in their own private way—how
they treated us like a cavern,
beautiful because it has never been
entered, draped in cold, breathing rock
and a lake so still it is its own mirror.