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July 29, 2022

My Mother’s Body

I am thinking about my mother’s body.

The body that carried and birthed me-gave me life.

Tall and strong.
Broad soft shoulders that seem perpetually suntanned and freckled in my memory.
Round belly.
Big butt.
A face covered with laugh lines.
Soft thighs that made the best lap-a perfect respite from the world when I was small.

I look at my own body in the mirror now.
Previously shaved and plucked-now mostly left wild.

The belly I used to suck in and wish away-now left round and supple and full.

The pubic hair I started shaving before i had much, now left free, the same as hers that used to embarrass me when it peeked out of her bathing suit in the summer.

The broad shoulders and tall spine-she turned many heads when she walked through a crowd, mostly without w. I do too, especially when I wear her clothes.

The laugh lines and crows feet that deepen with each year.
The breasts are mine-she used to marvel at their size and wonder where they come from.

Becoming myself.
Inhabiting this body.
Inviting it to soften, slow down, take up space.

All of it brings me closer to her, both her presence and her absence.

There is no question that she is in me, the same way I was in her.

I only need to touch this body to remember how close she is.

A loving speech at my going away party before leaving for Lesotho.

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