Poem: Being quite trim

For a couple of years I have been what’s called careful about what I eat, and have taken quite a lot of exercise. I wrote this as a kind of vanitas.

Being quite trim
January, 2014

At night I run my hands
over hips and pelvis,
relishing my haunch,
lean and narrow like a rabbit’s;
or scrub my ribs,
like a skiffle rhythm section.

I’ve worked at this thinness,
though not yet quite sporting a bikini bridge.

It was something I could do —
careful at the fridge,
exhilarated in kayak, bike,
or shoes with padded insoles.

I am down more or less
to bone and sinew
down to the non-negotiable.
A skeleton worked by tight strings and muscle
and barely enough fat for decency.

It is a look which tends toward the pervy,
when jeans may suggestively sag
or risk the assertively trim,
hinting at the obsessive
the death-defying fantasy
the death-denying fallacy.

But I don’t want to turn the clock back
and time doesn’t bother me much
when it is so easy to live vicariously
and I have so few questions to ask about
myself.

I am not for now
dreading death.

The honed scythe,
the labelled bullet,
the starry alignment,
the moment when
Heisenberg meets Crick and Watson
on the path less chosen –
they’ll all do their thing
in their own good time.

And I can’t pray
no, not even
for a healing amnesia,
for a sort of cheerful fog,
sooner than new angers and dreads
dredged up from neglected cortex
or newly minted from sheer longevity.

Rather, I fancy
these chores and choices,
not sacrificial, nor sacerdotal
but aiming to avoid the nondescript.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Publication date

29 January 2014

Categories

RDN's poems

Tags

Poems