What I See In My Mother

by Meg Zulch

Courtesy of Meg Zulch

Courtesy of Meg Zulch

The beauty of my mother’s body is a secret, even to herself

hidden deep within the confines of her generous chest

close enough to reach but invisible to her own eyes

I see it glowing deep within her heart, radiating to all parts of her body

In her stretch marks, her crow’s feet, her surgical scars

there is beauty erupting like starbursts

in a dark and dusty night

but only for the enjoyment of others.

 

She buried all knowledge of her beauty years ago,

and forgets to pay her respects to her beautiful wide thighs

her stomach and pelvis that was swollen two different times

with a growing life inside of her

cut from her own cloth

beating heart and fighting arms, like their lionhearted mother,

her jiggly middle serves as a reminder of the miracles her body is capable of

the way she changed the world with her sacrifice and womanhood

 

she tends to hide from her body

hiding it from the world

because she doesn’t believe in it like we do

poisoned by the ideas of makeup ads and fashion models

forgetting her own worth, long history, and infinite grace

swallowing toxic media messages

a diet we’re all subject to

 

Courtesy of Meg Zulch

Courtesy of Meg Zulch

I see the beauty in her

in the body that I came from

the eyes that worried about me

the arms that held me

the heart that believed in me

and the voice that defended me

that attempted to break the spell we were both under

 

she's dismissed the beauty of her feminine body, calling it “fat,” or “out of shape”

she's disregarded her years of life experience and wisdom, calling it “aging” and lamenting over wrinkles

she's denied her extraordinary abilities, and takes shame in the limitations of her body,

the scars which serve as reminders of her struggles

teaching her loved ones to be fierce and unafraid like she is

 

she knows how her body has betrayed her,

but I don't know if she remembers all the ways it has served her

with love and strength

for almost 50 years

and that her fierce and independent attitude,

her life accomplishments,

have more than earned her the right

to appreciate the spoils of her hard work

the body that brought her through an impoverished childhood

a career as a police officer

two childbirths

and multiple surgeries

the body that grieved

longed

suffered

laughed

thrived

persevered.

 

she buries her beauty deep, where she can’t see it

but I can still see it

glowing in the dark

dancing in her eyes

ringing in her laugh

the vulnerability in her insecurity

as beautiful as the body she was born with-

born to make noise with and move mountains with,

shaking entire towns with her presence-

like mother, like daughter.

 

These days, she prefers hiding her beauty

concealing the abilities of her body to the world

in the deep well of her sensitive stomach,

worried that she’s moving the wrong way

wearing it the wrong way

standing in it the wrong way

 

but she’s my mother, my beautiful mother

every inch of her body is worth seeing

loving

celebrating

deep down she knows this, she always has, we always have

and I hope one day to see her unearth this treasure,

the knowledge of her beauty,

so she can worship the hourglass palace,

its reflective light dancing in her eyes.