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The Illustrated Life of the Body

09.21.19 Posted in today's words by

Christopher Kuhl lives and writes in Batavia, Illinois. His published books include Night Travels (2017)Blood and Bone, River and Stone; Memoirs of Lewis Countyand Everyday I Will Remember (2019). He has published in Prairie Schooner, Mississippi Literary Review, Tower Journal, Inscape Magazine, and Tulane Review, among many others. 

The Illustrated Life of the Body
By Christopher Kuhl

Our bodies are poems.

Some are illustrated
with tattoos: barbed wire

on the bicep; a girlfriend’s
name on the wrist; Chinese

characters on the chest.
Some people ink a whole limb,

telling a secret everyone can see,
but nobody comprehends.

And then,

some are artists, recreating themselves
from scalp to sole of the foot, like a
richly colored, live pointillist painting:
no clichés here; rather a song, a story—

My true love waits in the west, by the
headwaters of the mighty Columbia:
when the sun sets, I shall never see her again.
I weep . . .

I weep: I am no artist.
I have three small rose tattoos and no lover:
I am not the rose, the lover—

I am the chain of thorns embedded thickly
in a rash of briars.

2 Responses to “The Illustrated Life of the Body”

  1. Ed Zahniser says:

    Interesting body poem. Enjoyed it greatly. Thanks.

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