The Clerestory Podcast S1 E25

The Oklahoma Tenant Farmer and Me
Loading... 00:00:00 / 00:08:14

My Body, Myself

Hated body, 
Hated self.
Therefore, body equals self.

School nurse on home visit
Checking I was fed,
“Too skinny.” 

Smiling priest after service,
Adding fear of God.
“You’re turning into one big freckle!”

Doctor pronouncement,
You’re crooked!”

Fourth grade teacher,
“Go to back of line,
Too tall for front.”

Junior High School 
Gym taunts,
“You still wear undershirts?”

Mother verdict,
Despite taunts.
“No bra. Not needed.”

Much later, Mother-in-Law,
“Amazing you get milk
From such little breasts.”

Lifetime of tall, skinny, freckled, 
Crooked, flat-chested

Now, wrinkled face, crepey arms, 
Disappearing lip,
Shrinking height, bulging veins.

Bucket list,
Botox, teeth-whitening,
Vein-stripping, face-lifting.

Instead, hair dye, 
Mani-pedis, make-up. 

Forget outside, “It’s inside that counts.”
Asthmatic lungs?  Myopathetic heart?
Brain of lost names?

Don’t treat me like crepey old lady,
Treat me like you care.
Love me, not my inside-out body.

Break the tautology. Body does not equal self.
I alone am me. Free to care. To love. 
And laugh. No droopy boobs for me! 

Jane Bailey writes about life’s graces from her home in Litchfield, CT. She is a lifestyle columnist for two Litchfield publications and has been published in Today’s American Catholic, The Hartford Courant, and Woods Reader among others. Her poem, Dance of the Trees, won the Woods Reader 2019 Poetry Challenge. See more of her work on her website.

Discover more from Jane Bailey .