For women body image can be fraught with conflict and cognitive dissonance. We are inundated with body images from the advertising and media world that are not representative of the full spectrum of womanhood … that don’t reflect the changes our bodies experience, not only as a result of pregnancy and childbirth, but of disease, disability, aging and more. This can make us feel less than and make it extremely challenging to achieve and maintain body positivity.
The Mom Egg Review March VOX folio offers you poems that explore our relationship with body image, as well as poems that consider the body image experience from various perspectives.
These poems are personal, close to the quick. Many use things of our everyday lives as metaphors for self-image. As Kathleen Aguero writes in “Self Portrait as a Geranium”:
Here’s all I’ve got:
one showy cluster of red blossoms,
fancy hat on a scrawny neck
rising above bare stems and gently ruffled leaves
with their dark inner border, peach fuzz.
Other poems, such as “Careful” by Jill McDonough, don’t mince words or metaphors to contemplate body image related to aging:
Josey kisses me Christmas morning in the kitchen
and it’s so good we end up having sex on the floor.
But we are old ladies now, laugh together while we
stagger slowly to the ground, first one knee then
the other gently down, ginger, hands braced on thighs
or holding on to counters, cracking up and laughing
And how do we know who we are if we ‘change shape after shape’ as Kirun Kapur so deftly writes in the poem “Spring”— “I could have sworn a girl with dark hair/surfaced.” It continues:
I watched to be sure it was real, a bird
who can escape—change shape after shape—
who can become a girl eating a river.
I’ve been two selves, at least,
two creatures, each hungry, each trying
to slip away.
Curating this folio was a privilege. The poems we’ve included are poignant and some, like Virginia Sutton’s poem “Constellation,” are as painful as bruises:
On the skin inside my upper arms are galaxies
of bruises, some as fresh as this morning, one
or two for each day when Mother inspects
to see if I’ve lost weight.
It is with great honor and care that we present this Vox Folio: Body Image.
Cindy Veach and Jennifer Martelli