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My Meat and My Marrow | Christie Grotheim

My bewildering body, my meat and my marrow,

Walking away from the womanhood I once ached for;

 

regression, relapse, in my carriage and my core,

hormones hijacked, dampening my spirit and my linens.

 

Awoken in a pool of wet secreted from my own

slippery skin, I peel myself up and strip off my clothes,

 

hot and steamy—but musty not lusty—then trembling cold,

the cycle repeats as my cycles begrudgingly come to a close.

 

I rarely utter the “m” word aloud; my iPhone has ears,  

its algorithms presenting my future in mortifying images:

 

hunchbacked women with sagging stomachs and “apron belly”,

pills to prevent stiff joints, bursitis, and oncoming bone decay.

 

I watch my belly droop and drop, my hips expanding to make room,

forever measuring my increasing weight against my growing want.

 

How much more can I deny an aching, starving body,

when dark chocolate is one of the few pleasures life has left me?

 

No matter how little is fed into my system, the scale doesn’t budge,

and I’m bewildered by my body, my middle and my mass.

 

My back aches at night like social media said it would,

and months of bad sleep keep me continually shifting

 

positions, so I try something new, and roll onto my side,

slipping my hand between my generous thighs, flat,

 

like a slice of cheddar melting between bread fresh from the oven,

or rather, like leavened dough, and I knead my own flesh.

 

Instantly calmed by the feel of my soft tissue, so supple

and smooth, my self-nurturing cellulite hugs my own hand.

 

My flesh is bread, my blood is wine, my old soul a fine aged cheese,

and comforted, I fall into the most satisfying slumber.

 

Made of strong, loving stuff, I’m all woman—still woman—living inside

my bewildering body, my meat and my marrow.

 

Christie Grotheim’s debut novel, The Year Marjorie Moore Learned to Live, was published in 2019 by Heliotrope Books and was a finalist for best new novel from the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Her stories have been featured in Salon.com, The New York Observer, Prometheus Dreaming, Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood, West View News, Petrolicious.com, and The Dodge, among others. In 2020, Grotheim and her husband relocated from Manhattan to Ashland City, where after a couple of long years of renovations and manual labor, she’s finally realizing her dream of hosting writers’ retreats on the property (Blue Spring Creek Retreats @bluepsringcreekretreats), in collaboration with The Porch (porchtn.org), where she’s also a creative writing instructor. See more of her work at www.christiegrotheim.com.

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