My god, my body has
changed as if my old place of business
has been shuttered.
Or like Look, the best snow man ever,
reduced to a puddle,
a rotten carrot, two buttons,
a stocking cap gone out of fashion.
Thank you, Lord, for my body,
how it resembles a car that resembles
a coffin with wheels,
dented but not yet totaled.
My body a drowned treasure chest
picked clean by pirates. Thank you,
Gravity, for keeping me grounded,
but just once I want to be a helium balloon.
To be naked with no shame
no matter how many people point.
There’s an American Association for Nude Recreation
but I’m not a joiner. I don’t have any friends
that would be into skinny dipping
and maybe that’s what’s missing.
But I won’t go skinny dipping alone.
I’ll learn to swim in the body I have.
I’ll be a stream that’s made peace with the ocean.
I promise I was young once, but too self-conscious
to dance. I should have danced, music or no music.
Now I’m the lake I dog-paddle in.
Now my body is a doorway into a room on fire.
Now my body is a framed painting that my children colored over.
Sometimes I lie in my bed and dream that my body is new.
Sometimes I lie in my bed and dream of never waking.
Sometimes I write aubades that want to be gunshots.
Sometimes I think there should be more of me.
I want to sing into Van Gogh’s severed ear
and let him paint me nude and blue,
my face unfinished, my body a temporary address
in a town you never hear about except
when fugitive criminals get tracked down there.
Someone in every group of skinny dippers thinks
it’s funny to hide other people’s clothes.
Someone always takes pictures.
The cops always arrive but never join in.