The First Bind

by

Bhumika Choudhary

Restless breasts, bound by tape
worn to iron the roundness
that labels her –
Female.

The first bind is a child learning
to tie shoe laces. But bowknot
are just knots, like bound breasts
resembling muffins fresh out
of the oven instead of flat bread.

She flinches in irritation at the first fail.

Itchy fingers nipple at tape, scarring redness,
knowing removal is critical.

Teeth brushed, pajama’s worn
yet olive oil pours into take out bowls
at 12:51 AM to pour onto tape
leaking 34B.

An off-white tub holds bruised knees
as olive oil runs across tape, revealing
swollen nipples desperate for air.

She watches skin painted with an open-delta
and compass, gloss with every pour
on the naked, ashamed body.

An off-white tub holds droplets of off-green.

Twenty minutes to break adhesive,
to smoothen, in relief, bulges
that attract free drinks and sloppy first-liners.

One pour, a slight peel
     another pour, another peel
and lips lift as eyes squint
to utter pinching pain of peeling.

One breast is unbound.

A bound breast is liberating to a cupped one.

Second pour, a slight peel
    another pour, another peel
and the chin and neck pile on top of each other
to become a hippopotamus neck.

Second breast is naked.

An olive-oil bathed body
scrutinizes a chest a little scarred, a little hurt
but perky for her first attempt at binding.

Breasts now hang loosely on a body
trying to bloom into its own colors.

Poet & Editor’s Note: Chest binding is the act of flattening breasts by the use of compression undergarments called binders, elastic or non elastic bandages, or cloth strips. Chest binding may involve risks if not practiced safely. Please consult additional resources before engaging in the act of chest binding.


Bhumika Chouhary is an Indian born poet that is a recent graduate in creative writing and rhetoric studies. She views poetry as a fabric that stitches threads of human thoughts, emotions, and experiences. Bhumika writes on trauma, love, and transitions. She hopes to publish her debut collection, “Dear Birth Giver” in the near future.

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