Body Neutral by Sam Barbee

Body Neutral

So much to ponder relating to ruin.
In sweatpants, I sit alone in the kitchen.
Shelves full of bowls like islands floating
on a dormant sea. Recipe box closed,
but healthy appetites insist on skinny seats
at the table to debate dessert.

In striped apron vestment, by habit, I
complain about myself, even without
public shaming. I stretch tall in the window,
salivate beneath a super-sized moon.
Temptations overwhelm with insinuations
and proverbs à la mode.

This is my body: a still-life.
Pliable rules provoke me: either
with lean divinity or reflexive voodoo–
restraint’s plate always wiser
than piety’s platter. I want these
uneasy partnerships to reconcile.

Jekyll to Hyde; Dante to Bronte – alter-egos
shedding sandals and tight togas. My body:
the podgy regent. After a feast of regret,
I cannot resist, find room to commune,
and my caramelized hunger consumes me
as I partake pastries among Amens.

Sam Barbee’s poems have appeared Poetry South, The NC Literary Review, Crucible, Asheville Poetry Review, The Southern Poetry Anthology VII: North Carolina, Georgia Journal, Kakalak, and Pembroke Magazine, among others; plus on-line journals Vox Poetica, The Voice Project, Courtland Review and The New Verse News.

His second poetry collection, That Rain We Needed (2016, Press 53), was a nominee for the Roanoke-Chowan Award as one of North Carolina’s best poetry collections of 2016. He was awarded an “Emerging Artist’s Grant” from the Winston-Salem Arts Council to publish his first collection Changes of Venue (Mount Olive Press); and is a Pushcart nominee.

Image Credit: Fractals (