The Body is Not an Apology



The body is not an apology.

Let it not be forget-me-not fixed to mattress when night threatens

to leave the room empty as the belly of a crow.

The body is not an apology. Present it not as disassembled rifle

when he has yet to prove himself more than common intruder.

The body is not an apology. Let it not be common as oil, ash, or toilet.

Let it not be small as gravel, stain, or teeth.

Let it not be mountain when it is sand.

Let it not be ocean when it is grass.

Let it not be shaken, flattened, or razed

in contrition.

The body is not an apology. Do not give it as confession,

communion. Do not ask for it to be pardoned as criminal.

The body is not a crime; is not a gun.

The body is not a spill to be contained. It is not

a lost set of keys, a wrong number dialed. It is not

the orange burst of blood to shame white dresses.

The body is not an apology. It is not the unintended granules

of bone beneath wheel. The body is not kill.

It is not unkempt car.

It is not a forgotten appointment.

Do not speak it vulgar.

The body is not soiled. Is not filth to be forgiven.

The body is not an apology. It is not father’s back hand;

is not mother’s dinner late again wrecked jaw howl.

It is not the drunken sorcery of contorting steel round tree.

It is not calamity. The body is not a math test. The body is not a wrong answer.

The body is not a failed class.

You are not failing.

The body is not a cavity; is not hole to be filled, to be yanked out.

It is not a broken thing to be mended, be tossed.

The body is not prison; is not sentence to be served.

It is not pavement; is not prayer.

The body is not an apology.

Do not give the body as gift. Only receive it as such.

The body is not to be prayed for; is to be prayed to.

So, for the evermore tortile tenth grade nose,


For the shower song throat that crackles like a grandfather’s Victrola,


For the spine that never healed; for the lambent heart that didn’t either,


For the sloping pulp of back, hip, belly,


For the errant hairs that rove the face like a pack displaced of wolves.


for the parts we have endeavored to excise.

Blessed be

the cancer, the palsy, the womb that opens like a trap door.

Praise the body in its black jack magic, even in this.

For the razor wire mouth.

For the sweet god ribbon within it.


For the mistake that never was.


For the bend, twist, fall, and rise again,

fall and rise again. For the raising like an obstinate Christ.

For the salvation of a body that bends like a baptismal bowl.

For those who will worship at the lip of this sanctuary.

Praise the body for the body is not an apology.

The body is deity. The body is God. The body is God;

the only righteous love that will never need to say sorry.

– Sonya Renee

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