Intermezzo

While gathering my thoughts for my next post involving body image and chronic pain, I remembered this poem by Joyce Sutphen.  As a woman who experiences pain on a daily basis, these words have reminded me not just to pay attention to the sharp pangs, the burning, and the noise my body makes in the late hours, but to remember that this is a body that loves, is loved, creates, and has meaning.  May her words bring significance to you today.

Living in the Body

By Joyce Sutphen, 1995

Body is something you need in order to stay

on this planet and you only get one.

And no matter which one you get, it will not

be satisfactory. It will not be beautiful

enough, it will not be fast enough, it will

not keep on for days at a time, but will

pull you down into a sleepy swamp and

demand apples and coffee and chocolate cake.

Body is a thing you have to carry

from one day into the next. Always the

same eyebrows over the same eyes in the same

skin when you look in the mirror, and the

same creaky knee when you get up from the

floor and the same wrist under the watchband.

The changes you can make are small and

costly—better to leave it as it is.

Body is a thing that you have to leave

eventually. You know that because you have

seen others do it, others who were once like you,

living inside their pile of bones and

flesh, smiling at you, loving you,

leaning in the doorway, talking to you

for hours and then one day they

are gone. No forwarding address.

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