Ann Keiffer

Mobius Woman

I am reaching out, taking the first tentative steps
toward reconciliation in a relationship
that was the first given of my life.

Approaching death as I am—any year now!—
my relationship with my own body seems to be
emerging as the newest and furthest frontier.

I have wronged my body: I’ve been a user, an abuser,
a loather, a joy-taker, a manipulator, a danger-maker,
a fear-monger, a discounter, a flouter, a snubber, and a leech.

What set all this emotional commotion into motion
was just my belly, my becoming obsessed with how gravity
has been furtively pulling soft, innocent

belly flesh down over my hysterectomy scar
for a water-filled-awning look that I don’t find
as attractive as you might think.

Hideous, no-funhouse mirrors everywhere!
With my clothes on, I look to myself as if I have a
hot water bottle tucked in the front of my jeans.

Naked, I look, but glancingly, needing to make peace
with these smaller declines as they come,
before small declines add up

to a steep and slippery slope I am hurtling down
on a luge going 150 mph headfirst
into the concrete and steel wall of senior-reality.

But then…

One night, not long ago, before I went to sleep,
there came a thought, a tiny impulse to put my hand
on my belly in a tentative gesture of apology.

When my hand touched my belly,
I was amazed to find how good my belly felt,
how soft and sweet and vulnerable it was.

And I was equally amazed when my belly felt the touch
of my hand, and I, Ann, felt my belly’s happiness.
And I lay there, marveling in the dark.

I am my hand, feeling.
I am my belly, being felt.
I am the one who experiences.
I am the one experienced.
I am the experience
I am my body. I am not.
I am a Mobius strip of
soma, psyche and consciousness,
as are we all…
with no beginning and no end,
just one long, infinite,
continuous, gorgeous,
sensuous loop of being,
curving in, out, over,
under, above, below, around,
and moving through
all physical, metaphysical,
and metaphorical worlds,
forever and ever, amen.

Ann L. Keiffer
May, 2009


About Ann

I am interested in the strange beauty of brokenness, in transforming possibility in difficult times, in how we heal even when we can’t get better, in the alchemy of surrender, in the interplay of light and shadow, in the bounty of everyday wonders, in the gift of laughter…and writing about it, all and everything.

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