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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies

I tried to explain that it wasn't about the physical.  That it was more of a brain thing.

But her daughter was shrinking.

And I felt at an utter loss because of my own

She was shrinking and there was nothing I could say to show her how

it would become.

I remembered
How marvelous to be unencumbered by any traces of

To join the elites in their

To have earned that immunity against being
not enough.

To wrap that dress a lot tighter, and cinch up that belt.
To wear the little shorts
to stop
the jiggle.

I couldn't describe to them how after twenty-one years of "well" ness, it could
 find me
at a soccer field.
Sneak up behind me, like a spirit.
Turn the air dark and cold

And as that ghost has its way with me I see
my thighs have spread.
Each dimple the scar of an accusation:

And my now middle-aged body spreading in unfamiliar ways
interpreted by that chilling presence...
Shame de!
Must Lose Weight!

Even though I have been well.
All these years.

I want to explain to them how
these deaths in our community* will catapult her
into ever narrower obsessions that will frustrate her no end.
She won't want to be thinking about
her belly.
her thighs.
While people around her are in agony
in real pain
with real loss.

But her mind will have been possessed
Long long before
when she was glad to be

When it seemed to them that this was about her
And not her mind.
That if only she would eat.
This would go away.

But the longer she plays
at being thin
The stronger the spirit will grow.

And she'll find herself in the grass on a perfect night
watching soccer
when the news will come.

No return.

And she'll find herself
suspended in disbelief that a person could be here one moment and the next entirely gone.
Her brain won't know where to go with this.  It's beyond belief, and there's nothing she can do to make it
go away
or get better.

But then her ghost will appear.
Sneak up behind her and wrap her up in hot and cold reminders; prickling her all over.

should go on a diet.

And just like that
she has
that she can do.

But I can't seem to explain it
And they can't seem to understand.
That it looks like the body has a problem
But really its a problem
of the mind.

*Three deaths of young people in our community, all within one year.
Plus the mysterious disappearance of my niece's cousin, now presumed to have been murdered.


janice said...

Oh so eloquent. . .

Girls, ladies, you are BEAUTIFUL, all of you. This does not equal good. Thinner is not better.

janice said...

Thin does not equal good. That is what I meant to say.

Pennerfive said...

I get it. I recognize that ghost. Thank you for exposing yourself like this for the world to see. I'm pretty sure your ghost would prefer you to just shut up and stay inside.

Anonymous said...

this made me cry, there is so much here.....loaded. Love, pain, life & death. Over and over and over again.

joyce said...

I find that it is helping a little. Writing it down, re-reading it, remembering that it is this old injury, this damage
That torments me so.
If I could only explain that it's not worth it.
(and yet the damage.... Tells me I am too big....)

Brenda said...

I love the way you occasionally rip off the bandage and expose the wounds so they can heal. Those wounds never go away, they become scars, a constant reminder of the wound. But they are no less healed (healing). Then, one day you roll up your sleeve and someone sees your scar and says, "hey, I have a scar like that too." And you share your war stories, and slowly other people in your vicinity start to roll up their sleeves and reveal scars and suddenly you don't feel so ashamed, cause everyone's got them.

Roo said...


Anonymous said...

Ode to Joyce (the other Mona Lisa):

Inanimate, on display
She hangs there.
She did not choose this,
The work of the Curator,
Like something of great value,
On display, always.

She did not choose this fate;
It chose her.
She is the Mona Lisa;
Her lips, slightly upturned,
While people come to gaze,
To study,
Not because she is beautiful.
There is more,
Much more.

The Artist is great,
She knows this.
A seasoned hand,
Well-worn brush,
Broad sweeps across white canvas,
Muting, dabbing,
Highlighting, shadowing.
Something from nothing.
He stands back;
She is perfect.

Now she hangs there,
On display, always.
Some walk by,
Hurried, busy;
Something more beautiful
Around the corner.

Some linger,
There is more.
Windows to her soul,
Her eyes
Madonna-like visage
Draws them into her soul.

They leave
But they are not the same.

Still she hangs there,
On display, always.
Her lips, slightly upturned,
While people come to gaze,
To be changed.
She smiles.
She is the Mona Lisa.

Lori said...

Powerful and very, very frightening

joyce said...

Lori, thank you for taking the time to say so. Now if only we'd listen .....

joyce said...

Karla, I am still blushing.