By and large, our bodies are neutral.
Diligent, methodical, invisible.
We know we have joints, muscles, tendons, bones.
Until we look in a mirror we forget about the whole
Because it is not critical, not present.
Impact and illness are rebukes.
We do not feel our feet until they strike the ground.
We are not aware of our skin until it is hot, cold, or being caressed.
My throat sits silently under my chin, until it is in pain.
Then I am made fully aware of a tube in my body pushing air painfully in and out.
I hear you body.
I have made contact.
Fingers to throat, tender and aware,
Suddenly finding thin skin and gentle bends
How long have you been this way?
And how do I make you invisible again?
That is the goal – to keep the whole from fragmenting.
Today it will be the top of my calf.
It’s a good place to start.
A place to start loving myself. You’re not so bad, top of calf
You have an elegant curve.
You haven’t been sore today.
You let me jump a few inches off the ground in cardio
With you on my side,
I might not be so bad
It’s a start.
I can see the silent prayer in your shy dog eyes –
“Please do not see me.”
I try to meet your gaze, but you side-eye anything else, face blank.
Anything but visually confirm my looking at your blank paper.
I can see the subtle jitter of your fingers texting under the desk.
The promise of attention, or at least the facade of practiced indifference,
now lies broken at both our feet.
As I plaster on a smile and grab a piece of chalk
I turn to the board
Chipper as an axe
And announce for the twelfth week in a row
“What kinds of music do you like?”
Three weeks from now, you will roll your gaze to one side
and ask, monotonous
“What do you like music?”
Then I will snap your pencil in my mind, smile, set it down
like a trophy for my patience, and hope for brighter things.
Whenever I touch the tough patches on my feet,
I wonder if I could pass as a lady.
I have soft arches, spots which have rarely touched the earth.
But the balls of my feet are solid.
I can tap on them and they talk back to me.
I remember The Moon Lady, Gone with the Wind,
and that episode of the Simpsons.
A rich girl’s feet, a lady’s hands, a seamstress’ finger.
Where am I on this spectrum of skin?
Am I Girl of the Limberlost solid?
Am I Grapes of Wrath durable?
What do I get to aspire to be,
When my feet are hard from walking on gravel
and my hands are tough from climbing up trees?
I tap my feet and wonder –
Do ladies get to have such fine things as callouses?
In the process of doing things, I have forgotten to write.
Also, I’m DMing a big campaign, and I find much of my energy is going into that creative process. It’s difficult to remember to write poetry and stories, when I’m working on world and character building.
So, I apologize for the hiatus. I will try to do better!
Women sit in the padded beige chairs, glued to phones.
There is no eye contact.
There is no fear to match possibility.
Nurses in pale pink uniforms sing out surnames
And whisper “this way” in the necessary languages
To assuage the tightness in our shoulders.
Fear makes my answers sound hopelessly dumb
I am suddenly ignorant, thick-tongued, and demure.
I settle in and strap down into fear.
Let it stretch my stomach lining,
Poke my kidneys,
Cramp my guts,
Tingle the part of my spine in my neck,
Until I cannot see anything except possibilities,
Looming, turning into solid, horrible, truths.