Iowa Writes

REBECCA CHRISTIAN
My Temple


Never having had a traffic-stopping body to begin with
I greet Gravity and his footmen Wrinkle, Bag, and Withers
with relative equanimity, taking a fearless physical inventory
of the thighs, as bereaved as a black-veiled widow in a western
the belly so cratered and silvered with stretch marks
it glows in the dark like those constellations
on the ceilings of children's rooms.

The behind, dimpling as desperately as Renee Zellwegger
In one of those romantic comedies
She's too old to be the ingénue in.
And the toes, mercy, the toes,
Just like Mama's and Granny's
Branching out as independently
As adolescents and cats.

My karma, for once having made sport
Of an ancient lady who
Had to cut holes in her tennies
To set her gnarled toes
free at last, free at last

Thank God Almighty, free at last.

And yet I cherish this nightmare of a body
This brittling rack of bones
These deepening eyesockets
So like a dancing skeleton's
This comfy worn out robe of flesh
Upholstery for grandbabies.

I love it as I loved the car I drove
Until it was nothing but a steering wheel and four tires
Even the radio gone in a complete hysterectomy
undertaken by my son
salvaging a sound system.

Never having had a traffic-stopping body to begin with
I greet Gravity and his footmen Wrinkle, Bag, and Withers
with relative equanimity, taking a fearless physical inventory
of the thighs, as bereaved as a black-veiled widow in a western
the belly so cratered and silvered with stretch marks
it glows in the dark like those constellations
on the ceilings of children's rooms.

The behind, dimpling as desperately as Renee Zellwegger
In one of those romantic comedies
She's too old to be the ingénue in.
And the toes, mercy, the toes,
Just like Mama's and Granny's
Branching out as independently
As adolescents and cats.

My karma, for once having made sport
Of an ancient lady who
Had to cut holes in her tennies
To set her gnarled toes
free at last, free at last

Thank God Almighty, free at last.

And yet I cherish this nightmare of a body
This brittling rack of bones
These deepening eyesockets
So like a dancing skeleton's
This comfy worn out robe of flesh
Upholstery for grandbabies.

I love it as I loved the car I drove
Until it was nothing but a steering wheel and four tires
Even the radio gone in a complete hysterectomy
undertaken by my son
salvaging a sound system.

Even he now has tiny marionette lines
Bracketing his beautiful mouth
Which maketh me to love even more
This body that brought him forth
In all his slick and battered splendor.

And so I anoint it with oil
And gather it into raiment
Treating it as tenderly as one would
Any precious, wounded thing.

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About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

Find out more about submitting by contacting iowa-writes@uiowa.edu


REBECCA CHRISTIAN

Rebecca Christian, a Des Moines writer, editor, and playwright, is the author of the plays "Mothering Heights" and "First Lady Lou," and the book "That's Our Story and We're Sticking to It." She is a columnist for the Telegraph Herald in Dubuque and Articles Editor of Traditional Home magazine.

This page was first displayed
on February 16, 2011

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