Poor Body

Susan Ludvigson Click to

ludvigsonSusan Ludvigson is the author of seven collections of poetry, including The Swimmer, Trinity, Escaping the House of Certainty and Sweet Confluence: New and Selected Poems.  She is retired from Winthrop University, where she was Writer-in-Residence.

We study charts that tell us at what age
Our blood pressure will likely rise, while
symptomless, the body lies.  Oh yes, it’s capable
of subterfuge, a front for all its fears.
We can’t really blame it.

No body entirely recognizes itself.
Yet now that its deepest secrets, its codes,
can be plotted, we agonize
over what to ask, hearing
Whatever will be will be stream through us in the voice
of Doris Day, and we tell ourselves it’s nobody’s fault,
least of all ours, if our bodies have their own ideas
and will proceed along the paths
buried inside themselves,
ourselves, striding fast to keep breathing
deep and rhythmically, to encourage
mind to stay as close as it can
to who it believes it is now,
even as our cells wind down
and down.