The “After” Belly (2011)

She nestles her head into my stomach,
my “no touch zone”.

I try not to flinch.

I play with a particularly perfect curl
a bit of her coiled ’round my fingertip

Her little voice rises up so innocently,
“Why is your belly so jiggly?”

And I feel shame as if I were 13 again
lusting after those Jordache jeans.

Mad at my body for all that it’s not…
skinny, little, graceful.

But then, there’s shame for feeling shame,
I’m a Mother after all…

I pick my words carefully
Perfectly selected, delicate fruit for tender ears.

I want to nourish her.

I want her to know no shame.

“Because it’s full of love.”
“It grew three beautiful babies.”
“I love my jiggly belly because it reminds me of you.”

And for a moment, I believe
My mothering words
to my five year old daughter.

How do you teach
What you’re still learning?

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