A Body That’s Breathing Is a Body That’s Beautiful: A Free-Verse Poem by Jacquelynne

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Lyme with Envy,

a freeverse poem about this disease and how it’s changed my physical appearance and abilities.

Photo By: Lance Allen Reis & words by the beautiful, Jacquelynne Faith, whom you can find by way of her Instagram, Website, and Patreon.


When People ask me how I stay in shape
I don’t remember what shape that is
These days hourglasses only tell me there’s no time for this 
My thighs used to announce me before I did
But now that I’m thinner, I think it might be my soul
When you’re rebuilding your body from ashes “Bigger”’s not a goal 
Like just adding rooms to a flooding house 
So the water has someplace else to go

It’s suddenly so much more important to know how it works
And if you can really read abs like life lines 
It makes you ask these questions about working so hard on something so Fleeting 
Chasing strength on treadmills when you’re worried ‘bout it leaving 
Like what does it mean to have a pretty face if you were born with it 
And what does it mean to have a hot body if it’s gone with one bout of depression 
Or when you’re finally content with just one person to love you 
Sometimes I wish the muscles in each side of my back met my spine with a crease again
Sometimes I wish that my legs still stretched further away from it
I miss bending myself like I could be anything
I miss flying through the air like I could be nothing 
But the pain keeps me on the ground, and that’s no metaphor 
For now I bow to the people who defy gravity and physics
When I’m sick and just the bow itself is fitness

But the fire in my belly comes back with a good book 
The memories wash in with the right music note 
And when I learn it’s like heaving a piece of the world up in my arms
So even though it’s being taken too, I exercise my mind

I mean, my body is breathing 
Doesn’t that make me beautiful? 
Aren’t we all “built”
From something 
Aren’t we all “fit”
To be here.


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Chloe O'NeillComment