Peace be with you

Bodies

Kelly Palmer

for when we’ve lost delight in our female flesh:

and my heart felt achy at the thought,

the thought of all the women tucked away in church pews,

seeking, ardently seeking, Jesus, our male Savior,

desiring to give Him our best —

He who feels so other than our “She” existence,

our bodies overwhelmingly female, dangerous,

alluring,

these women afraid and unaware of the beauty in which they reside.

 

we’ve taught women of many generations

to be demure, quiet; without sensuality.

we’ve taught each other that these bodies of ours are dangerous,

to others and even to ourself,

we’ve insisted on hiding their splendor,

on tucking them away and keeping them covered.

 

and frankly, i refuse,

i refuse to believe that these bodies are cursed,

and best when hidden, even hidden from ourselves.

 

i refuse to believe that this body,

this which carries within it the possibilities of human life and nourishment,

creativity and passion,

is something bad;

something to be scorned.

 

no, these bodies reflect a femininity so divine

they’re irrefutable.

this skin i’m wrapped up in,

smooth and freckled from the sun,

tells of a life well lived.

 

this body,

with it’s muscle, strong and lean,

with these hips, soft and sensuous,

ever-expanding as the years pass by.

these moles, hidden like buried treasure,

underneath my neck, dotted on my sides,

and scattered in sets of two’s and threes on my body throughout —

my glory, my bones, my flesh.

 

the world has taken our femininity and distorted it,

we’ve exploited Mother Eve and shamed her daughters,

we’ve failed to take up her pride and shield.

but we must refuse the fear that taunts us,

and instead bravely grab hold of a courage reckless

that embraces and celebrates these masterpieces in which we reside:

this artisan creation of hair and breasts and fingernails,

of limbs that propel us forward, and nerves that electrify —

these humans forms we sit in are terrifying,

but they’re a beauty worth displaying, not hiding away.