Indulgent

            I hate my epidermal dress,
            The savage blood’s obscenity,
            The rags of my anatomy
                                                            (‘Epidermal Macabre’, Theodore Roethke)

Poor body, so maligned, guilty
of nothing but imperfection.

Hush now. Curl yourself into me.
I do not fear your effluvia, in fact,

find comfort in your funk, arousal
even, sniffing and licking, entertain

myself by picking crusts, scabs,
excrescences. You change from one

day to the next. What I thought smooth,
roughens and crepes. The thick, thins.

You never bore. I know, most likely,
you will tire of me before I do of you.

I forgive you. Such is every age, fickle,
impatient to get on with the next thing.

But for now, I still have leave to prowl
you root and ridge, nothing to me obscene.

Count yourself lucky, not all bodies
are so indulged, so coddled and adored.

Devon Balwit is a teacher and writer working in Portland, OR. She has two chapbooks forthcoming in 2017: how the blessed travel, from Maverick Duck Press, and Forms Most Marvelous, from dancing girl press. Her recent work has found many homes, among them: The Cincinnati Review, Red Earth Review, Noble / Gas Qtrly, Peacock Journal, Sweet, The Stillwater Review, Oyez ReviewThe Timberline Review, Poets Reading The News, The New Verse News, and Kindred.

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