My Body Was Never My Body

My body standing
in the shower fifteen years
old looking down surprised

by intersecting curves
how my body was becoming
a woman with breasts

too big left one hanging
low and pointing
out my broad

shoulders unlike
other girls in dance class.
At twenty-six the teacher

said I was getting a paunch
a hundred and eighteen up
three pounds shame years later

buying a suit at thirty-five
for Molly’s wedding me grabbing
my belly like it was a big

balloon to deflate
my nephew says how good-
looking I was then.

A tall friend declared my
pate a silver
crown I couldn’t see

those years of dyeing
every five weeks sucking
in toxic blond

highlights and babies
made purple spider
veins on my legs itching

on hands turns to age spots
like my mother’s stubby
hairs each morning on my

chin a life of checking
mirrors windows a parade
of passports and driver

licenses in the bottom drawer
form a flipbook of a waning
woman in a parallel universe.

About the Author: Abby Caplin was a finalist for the 2018 Rash Award in Poetry, semi-finalist for the 2018 Willow Run Poetry Book Award, nominee for the 2018 Sundress Best of the Net Award, honorable mention for 2017 Quercus Fall Poetry Book Award, award recipient of the San Francisco Poets Eleven 2016, and finalist for the 2015 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Award. Her poems have appeared in Alyss, apt, Canary, Catamaran, Dunes Review, Love’s Executive Order, Mudlark Flash, Salt Hill, TSR: The Southampton Review, These Fragile Lilacs, Third Wednesday, Tikkun, and others. She is a physician practicing Mind-Body medicine in San Francisco.