Unspoken Sermon

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.

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20 Comments

  1. Jeff on February 3, 2022 at 7:22 am

    oh yes! would that such things could be said and recieved in righteousness and goodness.

  2. C. Odelberg on February 3, 2022 at 7:25 am

    Wow!
    Thank you for reminding me/us.
    (You are right. Had you said that to me in person, it would not have gone well).

  3. Lamar Trieschmann on February 3, 2022 at 7:33 am

    Keep putting words to our thoughts

  4. Stan Escott on February 3, 2022 at 7:49 am

    Things we have all wanted to say, but our own upbringing sometimes gets in the way. I guess that is better than a punch in the nose.

  5. Gwen Jorgensen on February 3, 2022 at 7:49 am

    Lord, have mercy. That’ll preach. Thank you.

  6. Sue on February 3, 2022 at 8:00 am

    Your words matter to me, a 58 year old mother of two adult children.

  7. Duncan Hilton on February 3, 2022 at 8:09 am

    Amen

  8. Margo Burke on February 3, 2022 at 8:14 am

    Thank you. I’m not the woman at the gym but your words speak to me.

  9. alice scott-ferguson on February 3, 2022 at 8:31 am

    brilliant observation and, as always, eloquntly espoused!

  10. Nord Eriksson on February 3, 2022 at 9:13 am

    The unspoken was spoken and speaks.

  11. Mary E. Kehoe on February 3, 2022 at 9:50 am

    Chuckle! Love it. I can just see you at the gym creating that poem while working out.
    And how we as women need to be encouraged these Pandemic Days….especially with folks playing with guns and pointing them at our babes and firing without regard to the accountability of their doing so.

  12. Lynda Smith on February 3, 2022 at 10:39 am

    WOW! My tummy needed to hear that.. Thanks!

  13. Carolyn on February 3, 2022 at 11:03 am

    Thank you. Brought tears to the eyes of this mother of four grown children who often wishes her own “tummy” was flatter. There is sacredness in what we have done with our bodies and I appreciate you recognizing it. I hope the woman in the gyn somehow sees this.

  14. nmDavis on February 3, 2022 at 11:55 am

    You said it just right.

  15. Josie on February 3, 2022 at 2:55 pm

    A gospel Word for me today from your pen to my spirit, as yesterday I was telling soul sisters how hard it is to train my battered heart to love my body. Thank you.

  16. Lisa on February 3, 2022 at 3:40 pm

    Thank you!

  17. Abby on February 3, 2022 at 6:34 pm

    Just. Thank you. John, I am really hoping to meet you some day. Your bride, too. Thank you. I needed this today.

  18. Deborah Nottingham on February 3, 2022 at 7:02 pm

    Thanks and I read it aloud to my husband who must listen to me complain about this 60 plus body regularly. Me, who works out three days a week, have hiked all fifty states, still wear the same size I wore to my tenth year class reunion. And until a month ago hiked 20 plus miles per month AT ALTITUDE!! And don’t get me started on toxic breast implants…. Just read my book Remarkable Journey for the full story….

  19. Diana Trautwein on February 4, 2022 at 2:20 pm

    Holy Batman, Robin!! This one made me weep and laugh out loud. THANK YOU. Holy crap.

  20. Helen Williams on February 6, 2022 at 12:23 am

    Thank you, wise poet.

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