I have abused you

when the day seemed eternal and the night longer

I threw myself into the ether and struck the match


I have loathed you

picking apart the various seams with the ingratitude of the well

complaining a luxury


I have shunned you

railed, swore, sucked in, brutalized with curses, prematurely ageing

the right for skin to breathe without shame


I have denied you

pleasure and equality, I wrote the rule book and it

held no regard for your right to be beautiful as you were

I said instead

you were thick trunked, imperfect,

unwanted, freckled, pallid, flabby, old

yogurt nobody wanted to eat when pancakes were at the table

I spent many years envying and giving away

years like dance cards


now you wear down, tired of my eternal scorn

you talk in collapses

here take that says sciatica

you think you can shun me? Says paining stomach

you can’t outrun your design, hisses genitals

we will drop you in it, whispers loosening skin

see if you live well then, without us, cries bone

remember the ten year old who has hidden

behind the folds tucked away

remember when you just ran out

dressed silly and not caring a jot

and the world was kind to you because you were a child

they didn’t point at your flaws

but gave you ice cream on the beach front

did you hate me then?

When did you learn to use dislike as a language?

Did it make you happy to?

Did you forget how to just be?

Who taught you to loathe so thoroughly?

Is hate the legacy you want to excel in?

And my hand holding the quill piercing skin.


forgive me

even as it’s almost too late

and you bear the scars of my dismissal

my unkindness, my neglect, my fury

forgive me the error of not appreciating

you held me up

all these damn long years

more gracefully than I ever had

a right to

14 Replies to “Body”

  1. It comes to mind, the riddle
    The Riddle of the Sphinx
    What goes on all fours in the morning
    On two legs in the afternoon
    And on three in the evening?
    Oh, this mortal frame, so fragile
    As worn and injured
    By neglect and indifference
    As by loathing and abuse
    That tolerated the excesses
    And illusions of invulnerability
    Of risky youth
    I remember a mere forty years ago
    Running like the wind three miles
    Now after 50 yards, a knee demands a brace
    And chastises with every step
    But if our young selves had prescient wisdom of age
    What joys and adventures and discoveries
    Would we have forgone?

  2. This is so hard hitting and emotional to me. I sometimes loathe my own body for the issues I have, especially with my stomach so I feel like I can resonate with this–the cursing to the body, despising it, wishing for something better… It’s like you crept into my thoughts.

    This is heartbreaking to me and how vivid this account of the poem is, I have tears in my eyes right now–specifically at this:

    “and the world was kind to you because you were a child

    they didn’t point at your flaws

    but gave you ice cream on the beach front

    did you hate me then?”

    It brought me back to that once care-free world where nothing mattered, no one cared to judge or scoff.

    I love the visceral and evocative quality you always bring to the table with your poetry. It’s moving, it’s devastating, it’s heartbreaking, and it’s real. I’m mesmerized by your writing style as well. Oh dear god, this piece is powerful and relatable. <3 We do realize we eventually have to treat our bodies kinder as they're the one body we have until we pass, and you communicate it with such an impact.

  3. Thank you so much dearest Lucy. Whilst I don’t always write directly of myself it’s the theme which I want to address and speak to, and body-issues among women (and men) are wide-spread, among us who are sick, or those harkening back to childhood and its freedoms. Sometimes I wonder if that’s why some women want to be thin, so they can be as children. We do need to be kinder, to each other, because even when not children, why be unkind? Thank YOU for reading this dearling one xo

  4. The entire piece is so relatable, but I especially loved this line “When did you learn to use dislike as a language?” Women especially can speak so ill of their bodies, and it’s high time we started loving ourselves!

  5. Easier said than done and I’m by no means a good example but I agree with you!!!

  6. The riddle appears in Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, but may well predate the play. When Oedipus attempts to enter Thebes he is confronted by the Sphinx and must solve the riddle or be eaten. He solves it and the siege of the sphinx is ended. He is rewarded with becoming king by marrying the recently widowed queen, thus unknowingly fulfilling the prophecy.

    As for you loving it? YAY!!!!!

  7. This is so beautifully written. Why are we so horribly unkind to our bodies, we never like our own. I hated my body when I was so skinny and skinny was in then I got breast and hips and now I don’t want those curves. I got down to a two and was happy with my body and now back to a five complaining again. I love this piece because the truth is so amazingly in our face. Beautiful work. Congratulations again on your Anthology. ❤️🤗😘

  8. You’re such a bright man. You continually remind me to learn more, read more, think more, be more.

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