ode to my body

poem by Audrey Bowers

my body is a riot; it will burn
the patriarchy down,
leaving nothing but ashes behind.

my body demands that I eat;
my stomach growls
& becomes angry when empty
I need food. I eat food. I lick the platter clean
& strut back to the kitchen.  
I get seconds, sometimes thirds or fourths.
I sit down, eat again.
feel no guilt
feel no shame

my body is beautiful
scratch that - my body is SEXY.
and not for a fat body.
it is worthy of attention
& praise & love. it carries me
it is resilient, it refuses to die
even when I try to destroy it

the cellulite on my thighs
& the stretch marks on my arms
the hair on my legs
my chubby disposition
my triple chin
the way my breasts sag
the way my face is wrinkled
because I chose to smile
the way my face is covered in zits
because I like to eat some chocolate
every now and then
the way my hair becomes greasy
because I’m working too much
to shower as often as I should
the way my arms have wings,
I could probably fly away if I wanted to,
sometimes I wish I could.

I love being fat, I said once
this old man who works with me
said, oh no you don’t; on my first day at that job
he asked if I had a boyfriend.
they don’t want fat cheerleaders, my great aunt once said
the outfit looks good, but you have a bit of a stomach,
my step-grandpa told me once, he was an asshole
you look pregnant, a bully said to me in fourth grade
you look homely, mom said when I refused to wear makeup
I’m so ugly, I told myself at 15 years old while ugly crying
in the bathroom at a psychiatric hospital, when I should
have been focused on keeping myself alive
I remember trying to look sexy once at 10-years-old.
I remember a 28-year-old trying to get me to have sex
with him when I was first learning how to use the internet at 12.
I remember people petitioning for planned parenthood to lose funding.
if it weren’t for them, I probably would have become pregnant at 17-years-old

I remember it all – vividly.

Audrey Bowers is a senior creative writing major at Ball State. She is also the editor in chief of Brave Voices Magazine.  Her writing has been published in the Ball State Daily News, StudyBreaks magazine, RethinkingKidLit.com, among other publications.