For my crip body with its aching hips
the unexpected pain
that radiates into belly and legs and spine
the signals that suddenly don’t reach knees
For this body, I offer praise upon praise.
For the exhaustion of ears that cannot filter
one sound from another
words of laughter, anger, boredom, joy
fragments of everyday stories
talk about children and weather and
racism and baseball
all equally embraced and resisted
by a mind that doesn’t know
what background noise
For this body, I sing halleluyah.
For watching your speech form words in my head
for reading the words in an endless stream
for inscribing my words on the parchment of my mind
for forming painstaking speech out of just the right ones
just as you’ve started talking about something else
For this body, I give thanks.
For the tenacity of thought
that hikes through canyons and across
searching for something new in the
at 3 o’clock in the morning when
all I want to do is, please God, let me sleep
For this body,
I pour out my love.
For the days that I cannot find words
for the days that the colors won’t translate
for the days that the verbal torrents come
and my words somersault and backflip
and wind in circles around themselves
For the days I long to talk like you
like you, whose thoughts become speech
like arrows that never fail to find their mark,
effortlessly, it seems,
while you are doing ten other things
as though it were nothing
as though it were the easiest thing ever
Before this body, my body, I stand in awe.
Does it surprise you
that I praise this body?
Does it surprise you that I love it so?
I will not hate this body my mother gave me
this body that that caresses, that comforts, that reassures,
that sustains other bodies
that bore exquisite life.
Why should I cast it out of the circle of love?
My body fights, it curses, it cries
it pours out words of outrage and grief and hope.
Why should I not hold it close?
The one you call broken
The one I have always known.
© 2013 by Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg