Getting into the tub this morning,
I thought, I want someone to capture this,
as if someone else could see, as I do,
the history of these three years on my surface,
just as that Dutchman caught the foot and ankle,
indeed, the whole man and his movements,
simply by painting the boots left in a corner.

There was a time before motherhood
I did look like a painting. People would stop me
at the public baths. There was no consistency;
one mentioned Titian, another Gauguin.
I always thought myself more of a Bouguereau,
but there was a wholeness, a sufficiency
that denied infiltration, resisted embellishment.

Which is not to say achieved perfection;
it did not yet refer to anything outside itself,
the way apples and pears are barren
until finally weathering into a transparence
that seeds can pass through.

Here is what my body—like all soft
and pendulous things—says now: I have been
larger than I am, stretched beyond myself,
I could be more dense than I am,
I could be dwindled away, but I am not.
I am here, in this place, for now, as I am.

appears in the July 2007 edition of Illuminations