The Body, Grotesque and Wondrous

Nothing about her body is beautiful any longer. Lumps like golf balls or mothballs or spit balls litter her legs and arms and belly. They call them genetic lipomas which are neither cancer nor beautiful. She used to think that sex with the light off solved the majority of problems, hid her unmodel-like body, the scars too. Everyone knows people are beautiful in the dark. There is no longer anywhere she can hide. She scoffs at those who complain about cellulite, and muffin-top, and wrinkles. She wants to murder the thin ones who say they are fat, because they ignore their own beauty, willing at their own risk to blaspheme nature. She wants to tell the fat ones to dance before it is too late, because there is always something worse than being fat, and because they are beautiful like well-fed pets and deserve to prance and purr. 

The years sped by and somehow she had missed the chance to glory in her body, like a close call when changing lanes on the freeway, and instead the hate curdled her fat with every sour thought. How she longs to be touched now. To have his hand run up the length of her smooth, beautiful thigh as she hooks her leg around his back. No, she can never be touched again without flinching, without knowing she feels like an old dog or a cheap pillow. So she bathes with her clothes on, cloth billowing up around her until she was a parade balloon, smooth with water. She covers every mirror with mourning black, but feels guilt by appropriation, so she paints them red instead. Even in summer, she dons leather gloves of the softest kid so she feels a young animal’s skin instead of her own. 

There remains one beautiful spot on her body. In the arch of her right foot, where the blue veins float to the surface like loosed seaweed, her skin is still smooth, concave even, with no pillowy fat tissue coagulating below. Night after night she strokes the spot with her bare thumb, rubs at it like a worry stone, reminded of how beautiful her own body might have been had she ever tried to love it. Eventually an oblong callous forms and she knows she has finally been overcome, swamped and swallowed like a tree swarmed and smothered by kudzu. She is now grotesque in the way of roadside attractions, in the way of opossums, in the way she believed herself to be until she finally became it.

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