my mother tells me that i should be ashamed
for dipping my baby carrots in salad dressing,
that my food doesn't need the salt i sprinkle on it.
my afternoon tea doesn't need any sugar, skip
the lemonade and drink the water instead.
do you really need that?
her sharp tone echoes like military orders in the face of combat.
she tells me that at my age, her jean size was half of mine
and i resist the urge to tell her that maybe that means she
had half the character i do.
shopping with her, she butts heads with a body-image complex,
telling me to quit fooling myself and pick the next size up.
i shock her time and time again when i cram my corners into
every article of clothing i selected on my own.
how will you ever get married?
& i wish i could tell her how boys have seen me naked
in the emotional sense of the word, how they have found
truth and honor ready to burst from my so-called "fat rolls."
she will never know that i am a garden with an unlocked gate
and that each of my visitors plants a flower before leaving.
i invite people in with the gleam in my eyes
and the way i bend language, so mother:
i am sorry that the width of my gut is not to your liking.
my suitcase of memories may be overweight in your eyes,
but within me lies every story i have ever been told.
i am holding every DNA strand that has ever coincided with mine.
it's as if i'm bearing the child of my own set of paradigms and you
are the poet not ready to write an apology.
it's okay, i'll do it for the both of us:
i am sorry for treating my body like a canvas meant to shed its paint.
i have learned to love my ink stains.