Monday, June 29, 2015

Afloat (Poem)

Originally published on my closed blog, Zucchinis in Bikinis, on 13 February 2010, but just as relevant now. Maybe even more so.

She looks into the mirror, steadily.
and sees a tired face with weary, sleepy eyes, etched in smudgelines of fatigue;
accentuated with dark puffy pillows of swelling underneath.
a face acquiring a network of lines
a tracery of wear,
reflected also in the specks of darkness in the hazel irises
little inkblots of suffering,
each one a tiny scar of illnesses weathered, injuries repaired.

She sees thick, unruly hair, by nature dun-coloured but now
greying at the temples. henna can cover it, and often does
but not at this moment, now the silvering is visible
unchecked it will soon be a broad ribbon across her forehead.

She sees a thick-bellied, heavy-hipped body
the weight of three births sitting stonily on her abdomen
the fine light marks of stretched skin casting long slim fingers around her belly
She sees heavy, rounded breasts, milk-bearing and full

She sees, still, that her fingers are long and delicate
tapering like those of the pianist that she never did become
musician's fingers, wasted on on a writer's body.

She sees that she is aging. And not with great physical grace
she will be an unlovely crone, that is apparent now
she feels uneasy, regarding this body in the mirror, and
shifts from foot to foot, thinking.

This body that will no longer tolerate the challenges it once overleapt easily.
The spine isn't right, now
and never will be, again, whispers a cool voice inside her head
like the damaged kidney. and the gut, it too.
Yes, she thinks, touching her hands to her face
there is no going back now.
No rebirth for this vessel, I must sail it to the ends of the earth and life without ceasing

and she says, steadily, Please.
just that
Please, I want to be able to live my life
to mother my children
to help and to work and to care and not to falter
Carry me, I need you to.
I have no other ship to sail in.

And the hazel eyes regard her calmly in the mirror, shining
with unshed tears and unspoken fears
as she sighs and turns away
to try to sleep.

- Kathy, 13/2/10