Her Body

after Colin Garland’s Sable Venus
& Lucille Clifton’s “homage to my hips”

Eyes avert from the sight of her form,
from the shape of her waist to the curve
of her thighs, her free hips crafted in the image

of man’s imagination of God’s imagination
of woman. There’s a rush to clothe her
in her imagined shame, some parts

of her still a cloth-covered guarded secret. Each time
some part of her is exposed, many are outraged,
afraid of what may come, afraid of what it means

to be bare and unafraid. As white Venus rises
from the foam, her body exposed to eyes
and elements, no one looks away

and viewers praise the brilliance of the sea,
but the breast of brown body stops many
in their place and leads to the fear that comes

with wanting to look away but looking anyway,
like a wardrobe malfunction during
a half-time show. Her uncovered breast

and the round of her hips welcome the wind
and the gloss of the sun. She is on her way
to shore; no one, god or mortal, can stop her.

Kateema Lee is a Washington, D.C. native. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in print and online journals such as Naugatuck River Review, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, ROAR and others. Her new chapbook, Musings of a Netflix Binge Viewer, is forthcoming (Finishing Line Press 2018).

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