Gray hair, lines of worry,
another late night beneath my eyes;
it all speaks of what I’ve been through.
A pouch where babies once grew their limbs?
I’m more lovely than I was before.
No, this is not the tale I tell, nor one I believe.
I was convinced before I knew to look away.
Flat stomach or shame, clear skin or hide it,
erase creases with lasers
so deep concerns no longer appear
to have lived in the soil of years.
I fight serenely,
a gentle hymn in the background
to keep me steady regardless.
I don’t cover a single thing, not a wrinkle or scar,
puffy eyes or strands of silver
threaded through my curls.
But I almost always know, and sadly, I care.
Shame sits in my throat some hours,
a question assessing an un-nameable quality
I don’t even know exists, yet I wonder,
do I measure up?
I answer yes and I answer no.
I am not always okay with being seen,
and I’m seeing what I missed before.
My eyes still shine,
and in the thin etched pathways
beside and above them, my life unfolds,
a mysterious beating of wings
whose momentum carries me
through my true story.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:
While observing my changing body, gradually growing used to her new creases and unfamiliar shapes, “True Story” asked to be written.
Heidi Baker is a second-generation poet and story teller whose writing reflects inner landscapes shaped by journeys of miles and other measures: from Illinois to Arizona, work to home, childhood to adulthood to parenthood. Gentle, imaginative, full of honesty and wonder, her clear writing captures the sacredness of everyday moments. In addition to her growing body of published works, Heidi creates space for other writers, youth and adult, through facilitation of workshops and groups.