Body Temple

To all those men–
Yes, and women too–
Who have thought I would look better
With a smaller waist:
I will not take up less space for your convenience.

For all those women who have told me
That I would look fantastic in this eyeshadow or that:
God has given me one face,
And I will not paint on another.
For God is the great creator of sunsets and of deer,
Of conifers and the white bulbs of dandelions–
Yes, and of catfish too, and praying mantises,
Whose folded hands praise Him though their faces do not please.

To all those doctors and health instructors
Who have told me that I should weigh less:
I carry the weight of my memories, of my loves, of my life,
And I will set down what weight I choose
And take up what yoke I want.
Do not tell me you think only of my health
Until you care more for what is in my heart than in my stomach.

If my body is a temple,
Then let it be a large one,
For it honors an infinite God
And holds a large soul.
And its decorations are not those of the exterior,
Which only those who pass it by may see–
A whitewash that the rain of tears
And the harsh winds of age may mar–
But its true glory is found inside,
Gilded with kindness and righteousness
That, like a brass, grows only more brilliant
With the passing years, under the caressing hands
Of those who do not pass by,
But enter into my life, and join in worship.

I will not diminish myself for your convenience,
And if my clothes require more material,
Then that is a sign of the richness of my experiences,
Of the foods that have passed my lips,
Of the blessings of my life–
Like some old-world lady who cuts holes in her sleeves
That the excessive fabric may show through.


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