Sing the body imperfect:
Bless you, funny smile.
Bless you, protuberant, awkward tuber of a nose.
Bless you, toes (I like you the most).
Bless my too-long mid-face, keen eyes,
focused and soft with green gravity and easily collapsible:
Two cups to an eager pitcher.
Bless these piano hands, long thumbs, narrow reach.
Bless the surgical scar across my right-hand knuckle.
Bless the coltish buckle of my knees.
Bless you, spindly-speckled arms,
pin-hole dusted with dark gold
like a lightly toasted slice of white bread.
Bless my freckled breasts, small buttons of a little jacket.
Bless this hippy pelvis, vast and hairy and
altogether a woman’s.
Bless the collarbones of my broad shoulders,
jutting out, my mom says,
like budding angel wings.
Bless these ribs like ladder rungs.
Bless the limitless wind of my lungs.
Bless the muscles that shift like restless actors
behind the milk-colored curtain of my back.
Bless you, divoted stomach, bless your holy hunger.
Bless the warm curve of the back of my neck,
kitten-cushioned by baby hairs.
Bless the goofy, insistent outward poke of my front teeth.
Bless this swollen pout of lip, round
chunky cheeks, stolen from
the museum giftshop of my girlhood.
Bless the offset of their softness by
too-arched eyebrows and
my mother’s cheekbones.
Bless my forehead, smooth rectangle.
Bless my two temples and bless
the worshiper between them,
laboring behind a veil of bone.
Bless this serious face and bless the continuous breaking of it,
like a wave on a California coastline,
I want to catch myself in a moment of humility and immobilize,
Pin my entire body in that position like a captured butterfly
And press it into your palm, a flower between your pages.
There, in the files of signifiers and signifieds,
I will be as silent and slow as the bow of a rose:
her private obeisance to the weight of the rainfall.
Like the boughs in the winter worship the snow,
Bending their bodies at the dragging hem of its robe
Because they know the piety of
What collects sound without addition or distortion
And refracts light without absorption.
We all know.
Dear Lord, make me one of those mute mirrors
Cupped in the palms of the firs, face upward.
Make me a single flake in that congregation.
I will soak in every sound:
A listening so pure it consumes the spoken whole
And makes no reply or observation.
Bend me like snow bends both light and bough
Like a knee at the altar, the prism,
Unprison my receptivity.
Vanish me into reflectivity.
I want to hug the entire mountainside
Like one of those great white blankets,
Cradle the cold land in my arms
And coax it to sleep beneath my quietude.
And when I am done, and my white powdered bones
Finally melt and drip from their limbs,
I will soak, swim back into the soil, and disperse
With all this bundled in my arms
And release it, to rinse the earth.
Luisa Black is a community organizer, community gardener, and all-around community enthusiast based in Norfolk, VA. She believes that there has to be something better, and that we can probably make it together.
Header Image: Creative Commons, Public Domain