instead praise the pulsing, cells traveling along a heart-knock system, reminders to spend time counting brown spots & stretches of folded skin winding deep like dirt country roads. We look for ways to make magic, brand the land, prove we were here. But the body is the mark: a flesh-mound harvest, gleaned from kicked-up dust after one wild long run.
We wounds and scars, we
fingers tracing scores of
raised notes and belly’s bellows
blowing. With this body I plant
The flesh: a tree
carved on, day after day.
This is a praise poem for the body, a response to American ideas that we should 1) leave a mark upon our cities/countries by the time we die and 2) mourn aging.
We act as though living in itself is not an imprint. How we impact others spiritually, is our legacy. The body is the mark that we were here.
And dealing with daily crises, including watching our bodies deteriorate, should be acknowledged as feat: this wrinkle, mole, age spot, means today I am, and today I resisted & persisted. This black, this brown body, means today I resisted & persisted.
There is prayer in the exaltation of a body’s breakdown. It means it’s going through a cycle that’s the human continuum—life that will either go back to the earth and provide nutritional sustenance for other life; or burned and released to the atmosphere. It is a wondrous human connection.
As bodies of color we must remember that walking through this America every day and maintaining our sense of self, despite when we’re told we’re not [insert anything here] enough, is an act of resistance. For this, we praise the waking flesh.