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by Bet Yeldem

I am covered

in stretch marks lingering and

constant bruises appearing,

spider veins bursting

and scars, inside and out,

wrinkles that are spreading,

and pores that are too large,

a scalp that is too oily,

feet that are too dry,

nails that are too brittle,

and I hide

mangled body parts

in private places

remnants from a past that was too violent,

and my breasts show evidence

of nursing and gravity,

and my arthritic knees and

degenerative  spine

carry the weight of my former self

like a monkey on my back

that I’m afraid to lose sight of

for fear of the damage

that may be done

by an unsupervised primate.

The last time I was comfortable


I was a child.

.. ..

He tells me I am beautiful.

A lot.

He says this until I believe it like

I used to believe in

the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny,

and Santa Clause –

without question.

.. ..

You know where this is leading now.

My mind, tangled

with baggage no one should own,

begins to recognize

myself under fragile skin and

the toxic waste

that seeped into my blood

makes me sick

with wondering if it was ever really true.

So I go back to the girl

I can barely recall,

uninhibited three year old who just

likes the feel of air across

her body,

curious twelve year old with

a peaks and valleys

and new sprouts of hair,

strong seventeen year old, on the cusp

of something like magic,

taking pleasure in this one vessel

that holds her soul

looking out from eyes that still believe

in beauty.

.. ..

Jaded and broken for 20 years,

it’s hard to imagine

that anything is left of her.

But there’s only one way to find out.

So she’s climbing

down from this piggy back ride –

I can’t hold her anymore.

And when she

runs away into some parallel world

happy and free, I’ll know

who I’ve become

without her shadow clinging to me.

Finding out

what I’m made of,

how much I can give,

how deep my eyes can be,

how sweet my smile,

how soft the caress of my hands,

and how beautiful

I am,

imperfections and impurities

and all the mystery

of a woman

and the words she’ll never say,

I am compelled

to confess that there’s hope for us all

because sometimes

I still think fireflies are fairies

and the glare of the sun

making white circles in photographs

is really halos of angels

sent to teach me

to believe in love,

beauty and myself

again with the faith of a child,

utterly doubtless.


Posted on 01/12/2009
Copyright © 2024 Bet Yeldem

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Gabriel Ricard on 01/12/09 at 02:57 PM

"I am compelled to confess that theres hope for us all"--I like that. There's a lot of clever lines moving around this thing, and that's definitely one of my favorites.

Posted by George Hoerner on 01/12/09 at 03:10 PM

Really nice write on where you were, where you've been, and how you got the idea you could come back. Nice write.

Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 03/12/14 at 06:45 PM

Such an intense piece of writing. Congrats on a fine POTD from someone who can relate so well to this.

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