how to find metaphor in my belly folds

I can call it wavy like my hair right now, pushed into ponytail to control the mess of knots.

I can call it lumpy like gravel road leading toward mountaintop.

Should I call it sloppy?

{now I’m judging it}

I keep talking about bodies.

White male professor suggests I choose something else to ruminate on.

enough already

But perhaps I keep preaching until I get it right.
I haven’t gotten it right, so I continue.

*
Woman touches my stomach while bloating my mouth with her tongue. I flinch, suck in, cannot relax now.

Woman wants me on top of her, wants me to straddle her hipbone.

How does my belly look to her, I think.

How can I choreograph my body to look its best at all times?

What is (its) best?

I remove my shirt.

I am left with bra and tattoos.

I remove my bra.

I am left with sweat and hair.

I wipe away the sweat.

I am left with skin.

photo by Francesca Woodman

photo by Francesca Woodman

*
I think back to moments when I felt most beautiful.

Several summers ago, canoe trip in Western BC, Canada. Watching my body grow strong with each stroke. Dancing naked beneath the sun and moon, while pup trampled land that felt deserted and discovered.

Having my scars traced and kissed by a woman and sharing stories of how each one got there.

That time on that stage when I announced who I was and allowed my nudity to be an understudy to the language that announced it.

When she noticed the hair beneath my arms and asked if she could kiss me there.

I feel beautiful when I don’t apologize away my flaws.

My body is an animal feasting on weather patterns and love and sadness and my body is an emotional landscape of splattered paint. My body is a Rorschach and it’s OK if we all see it differently.

My body is meant to be (re)interpreted and (re)translated and (re)minded everyday that it is meant to fold and flap and creak and stretch and feel excessive at times.

Yes.

My body can be excessive. In its hunger demands. In the ways in which it wants sex. In the ways it demands to be touched or ignored or pressed against.

So, I scream out toward the west and see how far my vocals get. Wonder about all this obsession toward smoothness and flatness and thinness. I am going to keep this extra five pounds. I am going to allow this belly to be flimsy. I am going to turn around when you ask to see my bum and not hide the fact that cellulite gathers.

You can call me a tree.
With rings and ridges and splinters and rough spots and smelly parts and sap.

You can call me an elephant with curious skin.

You can even call me beautiful and I will try not to question it.

And I will try not to question it…..

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