Cathy Cook

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.  

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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