Tracy Koretsky


Like pampas grass, whose blush fades, whose reeds
desiccate and snap, or like the house left to weather,
sinking, soft edges fraying...there is no fresh metaphor
for my body, aging. An ordinary body.

A modern body, with its list of -ectomys
and -oscopys, -ograms and -plastys,
with its daily legion of iron-colored bullets
battling an inherited disease. A private body,
that leaves the boxes for abortion and recreational
drugs empty on the doctor's forms until they can prove
to me why it's their business. It has an ordinary history

of scars—one recently acquired! The most ghoulish,
something my mother never forgave herself for.
And in this day and age—and even though I've lived
most of my life as an artist—I have no tattoos
and only two piercings, one through each earlobe.
(I promised myself that every time one of my books
"made it" I would put in a stone, something permanent
and precious.) They've probably grown over by now.

My unkempt body: unshorn; unpainted; only cleaned,
polished, and snipped enough for basic maintenance
haphazardly tended to. A face that I am not ashamed of
and others seem to forget. (Frequently my dog gives me away.
Everyone remembers J.) A little disappointingly
short, and no one would say skinny. Carefully fed, though,

—mindfully. A plain body, in middle-age. Still, I remember
when Josie Burns told me I could fly and I did the highest,
farthest, chassé and tour jeté of my life, and I remember
running, effortlessly the fastest, the wind parting
before me, the other kids cheering me on, and sometimes
I want to. I just see a path and my feet want dash and I know

that I am not going anywhere. A normal body,
aging. This body that has filled its eyes with
the bright of clear sky over new snow, that has tried
through the night for the top of the volcano, that has
mounted the dunes in the moonlight, and found
its length in water and breathed, that has sung
the arias of love. This body that I forget to thank.

*This poem is from Koretesky's collected poetry Even Before My Own Name, which is available as a free down load at the author's website.

Tracy Koretsky is the author of Ropeless, a 16-time award-winning novel that offers a fresh perspective on disability. (See the interview about Ropeless in the March 2007 issue of Wordgathering). The novel is reviewed in the January 2008 issue of New Mobility. You can also find an essay by her about poetry revision in POEM, REVISED (2008, Marion Press).