I am Holy

I’ve never been Catholic enough

or pure enough

or virgin enough

or modest enough.

I stopped attending ceremony

led by men

and spilling my sins

to those same priests

by the time I reached my teens.

I love my body and her splendor,

her spirit and beauty,

divine femininity

and the unending surplus

of power and pleasure.

Yet

When I was a knobby-kneed

tangled hair tree climber of thirteen,

I heard that there was no place

for power or pleasure.

(I know my parents had

my best interest at heart

which makes writing this poetry hard)

An old, scratchy record

skipping over and over again:

be seen and not heard

don’t do that

that’s not ladylike

don’t act like your brothers

cover up your skin

(that’s your husband’s one day)

do act like the saint

we know you to be.

I think these messages

may be why I

turned so strongly

toward the art

of running —

powering my body

as fast as I could muster,

turning my legs over

and over again

as I tried to erase

that my life choice

was simple:

because I was born into this body

I could become

a mother or a nun.

And honestly

neither of those appealed to me,

so I ran to feel

my power

and that, too, gave me pleasure.

Here I am, a woman now.

Echoes of the past

ringing in my head as

I slip into something sexy,

When I marvel at

the wonder and beauty

and strength of my body —

I feel the ringing in my ears

and the heat creep up my face,

as I grasp to enjoy

this beauty I am in.

And each time

I have to pause

within myself

to say

I, too, am holy

as I am

I am holy

in my own powerful way.

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