The Parts of Your Body You DON’T Like

Why can’t we love our bodies as they are? Here’s a great poem for today, the final day of National Poetry Month – and also as follow-up to yesterday’s silly post about my imperfections:

buried in sand

Summer at the Beach by Louise Gluck

Before we started camp, we went to the beach.

Long days, before the sun was dangerous.

My sister lay on her stomach, reading mysteries.

I sat in the sand, watching the water.

You could use the sand to cover

parts of your body that you didn’t like.

I covered my feet, to make my legs longer;

the sand climbed over my ankles.

I looked down at my body, away from the water.

I was what the magazines told me to be:

coltish. I was a frozen colt

My sister didn’t bother with these adjustments.

When I told her to cover her feet, she tried a few times,

but she got bored; she didn’t have enough willpower

to sustain a deception.

I watched the sea; I listened to the other families.

Babies everywhere: what went on in their heads?

I couldn’t imagine myself as a baby;

I couldn’t picture myself not thinking.

I couldn’t imagine myself as an adult either.

They all had terrible bodies: lax, oily, completely

committed to being male and female.

The days were all the same.

When it rained, we stayed home.

When the sun shone, we went to the beach with my mother.

My sister lay on her stomach, reading her mysteries.

I sat with my legs arranged to resemble

what I saw in my head, what I believed was my true self.

Because it was true: when I didn’t move I was perfect.

really buried

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