I overheard a woman at the gym the other day
saying something critical about her tummy (her
word not mine) and I thought My God, woman,
stop that! You’re in here outpacing me on most
movements, plus from what this eavesdropping
poet has heard you’ve carried three or four boys
inside you then pushed them into this world then
continued to nurse them literally and figuratively
as they’ve grown, you’ve wifed a husband and home
and no doubt organized birthdays and holidays
and summer vacations by squeezing nickels together
to make things sing, plus probably waded through
a metric ton of horny bullshit from men along the way.
You’re a queen of this earth. Your body is a temple
with a tummy holier than the bones of Saint Peter.
To speak of your flesh in that way is a blasphemy.
I could have said this out loud to her in the moment
but we were breathing all hard and sweaty which
would have made things creepy, and middle-aged
white men need to heavily self-edit our sermons
these days as our faith and works reek rotten for
we’ve preached a lot of stupid stuff then acted on it.
I suppose there’s a chance this poem will find its
way to her ears, and maybe the ears of her sisters,
hopefully heard in the spirit the poet intended.