YOU CAN CALL ME MA'AM, for the ladies at Laguna Beach Lit Fest!

YOU CAN CALL ME MA'AM, for the ladies at Laguna Beach Lit Fest!

Having turned forty-two, having menstruated
lo these thirty years, most often
on my hands and knees or curled, drugged
and sobbing, around the hot water bottle.
Having borne three children and been stretch-marked
and bloated beyond recognition. Having pushed
those babies from my womb as each skull crowned
like live coals against my perineum
and lodged for good measure up my ass.
 

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Maybe Time

Maybe Time

Every couple of years, I strip down to my underthings and let my dermatologist and her two assistants check my entire body for skin cancer. I admit I feel weird and a little chilly, being the only nearly naked person in the room, but I have become basically comfortable in my body and benign toward it. I even have the illusion, before the doctor arrives to examine me, that I am still, well, kind of hot. That, though I am clearly a middle-aged woman who has borne three children and nursed for ten years, the possibility exists that someone could find me attractive. (And I mean someone besides Mr. Bell, who has a contractual obligation to fulfill.)

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As Pretty Does

As Pretty Does

I spend a lot of time lately thinking about appearances. Maybe because, at forty-six, I’m chuffing along on degradation’s slow train, time holding me in its lap and having its way with me. Or maybe it’s because I’m the mother of a teen-aged son. I don’t know if teen-aged boys are more attached to physical manifestations than the rest of us, but I find them unabashed and enthusiastic, brazenly unashamed of their judgments of other people’s bodies.

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