DBlog Week: As Compared to the Ideal Self


Today is the second day of Diabetes Blog Week. Its founder, Karen Graffeo, proposes: “Write a poem, rhyme, ballad, haiku, or any other form of poetry about diabetes.” Here is something I drafted back in November, when I was writing a poem a day.

Self Portrait

You never change, do you? Every morning, you stand
naked near the bathroom mirror. I try to look away, but
always in the minute before stepping into the shower
I look. The pale, un-firm flesh on your belly I see first.
The navel is like an eye that my eyes stare into. Around it,
the fat is mottled by insulin injections.

We cannot blame this on poor fitness habits or
our parents’ DNA. Or maybe we can: diabetes is
genetic. The old disappointments also show
themselves: the squared hips and dip between hip
and leg, the small breasts, the pubic patch, still dark.
There are no lines, no planes, no impressive angles. If
I had to draw us, I don’t know that I could find a reference
in geometry. No circle or oblong or rectangle would do.
Even the oval head is flat at the back when I study it in
two mirrors angled just so. Every day,

the familiar sight is still there, and I remain surprised
it has not changed overnight into the transmuted
image of me that I desire.

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