I Keep My Body Like a Secret

By Sarah Leidhold

In the locker room labeled “Ladies”
with pink cursive curlicues,
I keep my body like a secret.

Every curve is clothed
in an opaque hue of hush.

Cotton licked by sweat
slickly sticks to shy cells,
like a thick manila envelope
hoarding something stamped

The skins are carried
out of vantage point-
only to blossom blankly
in the shelter of shadow.
I am safe inside
of privacy’s un-punctured shell.

As if there were flecks
of magnet in their freckles,
my pupils are pulled
toward the older women
in their stark nakedness.

Their skins hang
so softly across
the clotheslines
of their bones;
there is no prick
of creeping vermillion
in their unabashed
cheeks; their eyes
do not search
the faces of others
for signs
of criticism.

They shed
Spandex soaked
with sweat and
stand there
as if naked
was so natural-
as if this was
their true state
of being.

One of them laughs
and I can see the
ripple soft
across her
her breasts
gently with
the giggle’s

She looks so beautiful-
there is something
so alive in her skin.
The shell of privacy
lies crumpled
in the mound of clothes
at her feet.

How holy these women
seem in their threadbare
skin- vulnerability is no
where to be read
along the gleaming lines
of the cerulean veins,
spidering down their
long sturdy legs.
How sacred must
the peace be
that allows one such comfort
in her own overcoat of cells.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.