I wrote this poem last year when I was at a very low point with my bodily self-esteem, my hopes for the future, my opinions of my work. The first draft poured out as a cry to escape, to just be able to leave this body, to not be stuck here anymore.
Editing shaped the poem into something more beautiful, if still with an undertone of sadness (at least to me). But just recently, I was rereading it to a very special friend, after having not read it in quite a while, and something had…changed.
It was the same words on the page, but it was no longer about hating the body I was in or wanting to escape from it. Now I saw in the poem a discovery of the vastness and beauty already inside this body. I don’t have to go anywhere to reach farther and higher and expand my heart without apology. It’s all already there; I just have to embrace it.
When my body feels too small
I run to the trees to hide.
It’s simpler there, between the trees,
where shadows hide nothing,
are nothing, but cool shade.
I lie in the grass beneath the trees
in the shade, hear the trees murmur
messages through their leaves,
hiding nothing. The trees don’t lie.
This body used to be simpler.
I leave it behind with a murmur
like water, slipping down between
grass so the trees can drink me in.
I rush beneath their skin, simple
as the grain of the trees’ heart.
I run as water to the leaves
not a simple murmur now, but a shout.