I enter the sacred space
of belly, thighs, buttocks,
knowing the Baltimore Catechism
has not prepared me for this confession.
My transgression cannot be eradicated
with a new diet and fifty sit-ups
on the altar of weight loss
in the Cathedral of the Six-Pack Abs.
the sin that fuels the propulsion
of Oreos and French fries,
the falling on the swords
of all Three Musketeers,
snickering at the bloated face
in the mirror,
rejecting any joy
but the almond kind.
Daring you to go ahead…
just try to love me.
And so my penance is this—
to run my hands tenderly
over every bulge, crease, and scar
as I would touch the face of my beloved.
My prayer is to give thanks for these legs
that have carried me here,
even with their jiggling thighs and
to bless my arms
with their flabby undersides
that so easily embrace others
with the love I would deny myself,
to trace the road map
of stretch marks that etch my belly
and follow their path
Gloria Heffernan's poetry chapbook, Some of Our Parts, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. Her fiction has appeared in Chautauqua Literary Journal, Stone Canoe, and Main Street Rag, and her poetry in Columbia Review, Louisville Review, Gargoyle, Jabberwock, Pleiades, and The Healing Muse. She teaches part-time at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York, and holds a Master's Degree in English from New York University.