Friday, April 22, 2011

Day 78.

Fighting with my Body: A Love Poem

Last night, pulling the jazz shoes out of the back of the closet
Squeezing into the sports bra that actually holds the ladies in when I jump
A smile spread wide enough across my face that my eyes crinkled

Last night, I danced hard
Stretched, kicked, jumped, turned
So long out of practice, my pirouettes turned flatfooted
My jumps, long ago and far away strong tours jete, now whimpering feet
Longing to bring flight to my body

But I felt strong anyway, whipping my head, twisting my torso
Noticing my girth, the big belly
Holding me down close to the ground, keeping me from free flight

I noticed my lines. I knew those lines, long ago. We reintroduced ourselves,
Shy, like old lovers,
Becoming reacquainted over a tango

I fought with my body last night
The pushes and pulls
Remembering what I am capable of, feeling at home with all of the music, like my toes and eyes and shoulders and hips could simply switch gears, like changing the radio station
Latin sounds bring out hips and small steps
Afro beats move waist and pelvis, big arms
Pop music: straight arms, tiny and precise movements, hopping and running like a child across the wood floor

I forgot I could do this.

But I fought with my body last night
Cooling down, losing feeling in my toes, cramping
I remember this
The thing no doctor wanted to bother explaining. And the acupuncturist told me to eat less.
The loss of sensation in those ever precious digits
Fingers, with which I make words best
Toes, which support my ecstatic dance

And fears
I fought with my body
Nervous system, what are you doing? What is happening to my fingers and toes?
Silence, because nobody knows how to hear it, there is no way in the language of this culture to say
"I don't feel well, something is breaking, something is disintegrating, and the doctor doesn't know what to call it, but I know it's there."
And be taken seriously

I fought with my body,
We fought together
We moved and sang
We compromised in mid-leap
We gave way to each others' needs
Even when they interrupted our wants.

And when my toes complained, we rubbed them together, my body and I, and reminded them we'd be in it with them
'til the bitter, or glorious, end

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