surprised by this body

I never look at myself in the mirror. 

My own femininity 

Is something I’ve chosen not to see. 


But the other day 

I caught a glimpse of my naked body,

Almost forty,

Arms raised while brushing my hair.


She doesn’t look like she used to. 

I thought the one gift 

of small boobs 

would be that at least they wouldn’t sag. 

The skin around my belly button 

rumpled and puckered 

from expanding and contracting 

to hold my children. 

Everything too soft, too loose, too large. 


And yet

Today I see her differently

I am surprised to see this body of mine

Is the body of a goddess.

Not the Goddess of Vogue. 

But fertile Ishtar, Bridgid, Frejya, Demeter.


Depicted not in the fullness of youth

Or the fullness of being with child

But later 

After her body filled and emptied

Filled and emptied

And now she stands,

Low breasts, wide hips, full belly,

Soft, large, and round,

Grounded by the weight of Mother Earth,

Nourishing what she has made.


And for the first time

I stopped 

to look in the mirror a while

And be blessed 

By all the weights 

I’ve shed from my heart

And all the weights 

I’ve carried with my body.