Apology to My Body

by Emily Franklin

Sorry for waxing
hairs between my legs, pulling so hard
the skin bled, tiny beading red 
as though each follicle expressed its grief.

Sorry for sometimes consuming too much—
the cheese in its gentle rind, the chewing candies 
that mimicked real raspberries in the dead of winter.

And sorry for sometimes eating not enough—
those blank days of hospital drives or when sadness 
weights the belly so full food cannot be thought of.

And sorry, too, for the phase of so much spinach 
grit left on my teeth it could barely be scrubbed off
and for the garlic which I sweated out, alienating those 
who shared my office and bed. 

And I am sorry, body, for picking cuticles.
For allowing two toenails to rot, ripple 
like shy ferns. Sorry for scars and marks
which are really treasure maps of successes—
organs removed, babies delivered, tumors excised.
I only ever wished you well but maybe
this came out as wishing you different, 
thinner brows, or eyes that matched or hips slender 
or hair ringleted, breasts manageable. 

Truly, I am grateful for you—imbalanced gait, 
questionable pores, freckled thighs, your efforts
and skin, the grace of oxygenating and deoxygenating
lungs, of musculature and form, spine of knowledge—
heart with its chambers and metaphor. I apologize 
for my indiscretions and derelict care in this marriage, 
loving and needing you as I do. I do. I do.



Emily Franklin‘s work has been published or is forthcoming in the New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Forward, The Cincinnati Review, New Ohio Review, Shenandoah, Guernica, Blackbird, Tar River,The Rumpus, Cimarron Review, and Passages North among other places as well as featured on National Public Radio, long-listed for the London Sunday Times Short Story Award and named notable by the Association of Jewish Libraries.  Her debut poetry collection will be published by Terrapin Books in February 2021.

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