Etymology of the Body – Karissa Morton

In Latin, whore becomes dear one, mirroring my name in its purling Italian—& though neither granite nor force are made of the words we give them, when you tossed me to the ground, garnishing me with scrape & bruise, you named me secret treasure, tiny prophet— your hipbone jammed in lock & rusting there—guilty parts, noisy hands, surfaces heavy with fluids—& still, your sordid fingers ride the grooves of my flesh, tingeing me with indigo, violet: colors vivid in their newness & proving the inversion—I was first precious, sacred. I am these when I am harlot—made elaborate by the crush of your paw, converted to something coveted; emerald lips, diamond bones—& I hold to this, to the words that brand me valuable—to sporca, rovinata, completa.

Karissa Morton is originally from Iowa, & currently lives in Texas. Her poetry & essays have recently appeared in The Indiana Review, Guernica, The Paris-American, Crab Orchard Review, & Sonora Review, among other places. She can be found at

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