October 2, 2017

An Animal of Earth

An Animal of Earth

There is a space, a gap,
a chasm, a schism, 
a rift between my body 
and my eyes that perceive it. 
Like a cleft membrane, 
as though there were a mismatch 
between the form
that my acculturated eyes 
can narrowly receive,
and the actual rugged peripheries 
and contours of my real life body.
And in the space between 
a great grief dwells, 
unmet and in search of asylum. 
This space is filled with the wasteland 
that says I could never be enough,
that I always was 
and ever will be, too big,
too soft, too textured,
not quite right, 
not deservedly worthy.

When I look with these eyes,
they see through the lens 
of this judgement,
this critical imposition,
punitive imperative,
through the lens of this brittle world,
and it leaves the animal of my body
in perpetual isolation,
forever unseen 
for all the beauty she expresses,
all the generosity she exudes. 
There is a chasm of unlovedness,
between the body and the eye,
and I see now it has always been 
the eye that does not belong,
the eye that imposes the exile
on the perfectly imperfect body,
that has only ever wanted love,
only ever wanted to belong to itself,
nothing more,
just to belong to its own self.
But every time the eyes look,
they shame and demean,
all they ever see
is the not-good-enoughness.

I feel a whisper now,
a longing to integrate 
the space between 
the eye and the body,
I want to fill that space with silence,
and in the stillness,
I want to fill it with the presence of love.
I want to bridge that gulf, 
with a gentle acceptance, 
a homely comfort,
a tender generosity of heart.
I want to retrieve my gaze from the world
and bring it home to my body, 
home to the animal of Earth.
I want my eyes to belong to my soul,
like a baby belongs to its mother,
fiercely protected
by eyes that see only with love 
and the great responsibility 
of being a shelter 
from the harshness 
of the world.
My beautiful body has been torn to shreds 
with the sharp edge of every mirror,
or happened upon reflection. 
My eyes inflicting cruelty
with razor sharp dexterity,
amputating myself from belonging.
With every gaze, a violence done.

I want my eyes and my body 
to curl up together,
to wrap themselves up tight,
like my dog, 
when she curls 
around herself to sleep.
I want them to be together, gently,
for all the time that it might take 
for the world inside them to die,
for the space between them
to still and to close,
to mend and to heal,
for friendship to forge,
so that finally they can belong again
together in the one skin,
singing the one song 
that says,
you are enough,
and you are home,
and to know 
what a riotous blessing it is
to be home in a body. 
To be home on the earth,
in love. 

Word and Image © Lucy Pierce 2017

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