A body is a strange thing, a fiesta
of cells we take a lifetime to understand.
I once thought of my body as an aviary with birds
trapped inside, their lavender-tipped wings
plucking the glass. This thought had me looking up
apiary to make sure I did not place bees
inside of me. Nothing wrong with you, bees,
but your bodies can get drunk with stinging.
The generosity of skin: all day pinged
by the microscopic hammers of oxygen, the fox-
trot of rain, the sun’s silent gnawing.
A veritable circus tent of resilience skin is—
pulled taut over the tigers, cages and
I wanted to be a ballet dancer when I was ten—
all muscle twitch and lithe limb, all hair tied
into a disciplined knot at the top
of my head. But my body was more
tomboy then weeping willow, and
I soon learned my limbs could not weep
elegance nearly enough.
I’ve been reassembling myself
ever since: puzzling out the stars at night—
a silent movie with endless
closing credits–or a possum I recently drove by,
its chest a soft walnut cracked open
in the middle of the city street.
I like to tally what is around me,
store it in a book of fingerprint-
dusted questions tucked under
my arm, the one with freckles
trickling down it in the pattern
of a drowsy parakeet.
I’ve learned how my body works
over the years—at night, my torso
sleeps in the shape of a tear.
Don’t feed me broccoli or I won’t
be able to account
for the aftermath.
I have arthritis creeping
like a mini ice age through
the left knee, and my heart
types out a Morse code all its own
on days when the world overwhelms
with statistics, badly-parked cars,
and the curdled brow of someone’s opinion.
May the weather outside my door tomorrow
offer envelopes of new air. May I rejoice
in opening them.
Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 23, Issue 4.
See all items about Alexandra van de Kamp