NEW STRETCH MARKS AT 23
My hips round, dip, curve.
Fat jiggles as it clings to edge
of bone, spills out of snow-white
thong. Pomegranate rivers
climb my side, above my hipbone
where hip used to not exist,
the space of skin that stretched
across my then-flat field
no-sun-pale stomach. Pink rivers
match the squiggles on upper arms
that climb biceps where fat has
overtaken muscle, stress—no more
stone-hard-impress when I flex.
Naked in the bathroom mirror,
new woman-fat spilling past old
pants, jiggling thighs with their
cellulite dance, arms expanded,
tummy more hill than field, I still
see sexy, beauty, Rubenesque
Wonder Woman flexing back at me.
Author’s Commentary: On my 23rd birthday, I really took stock of the ways that my body has changed: new stretch marks, new fat deposits, a rounder softer belly, hips padded with more fat, and thighs that jiggle more enthusiastically than they used to. These changes made me uncomfortable, but I had also reached a moment in my life where I felt more solid and beautiful as a person than I ever had before. So, I wrote this poem to reclaim that fat and the new stretch marks from my own insecurities. I wanted to name them beautiful and powerful the way a mountain or an ocean is beautiful and powerful.
Cathy Cook writes poems, articles, creative nonfiction, grocery lists, and fiction. Her work has been published in Conceptions Southwest, The Chaffey Review, and 3Elements Literary Review. Her poetry is inspired by the body of the land and by the landscape of her body. Find more work at rewritereread.wordpress.com.