Let Our Bodies Be Returned to Us

by Lynn Mundell

from the confines of Spanx, the elastic girdles encasing our dimpled backsides and stomachs pouched from years of beer and/or babies, those cranky tenants of our pelvic basement floors. Let our breasts be returned to us while you’re at it, the cracked nipples unclasped from hungry mouths guzzling our depleted milk, from the hungry nips of middle-aged lovers or the ravenous eyes of toothless old men. Our brassieres will make fine planters for cacti, or weapons with which to hurl lava rocks at makeup counter clerks hawking cruelty-free eyeshadow. Let our thighs be released from skinny jeans, from the narrow seats of Southwest Airlines, AT&T Park, Cindy the dental hygienist’s work station, and office cubicles across America, so that they may rejoin our scarred calves and bunioned feet and together hurry far from Forever 21 and 24-Hour Fitness to the US interstates. There, in orange crates, please leave our other used and secondhand parts that are now worthless to you but precious to us—our tattooed arms and sun-damaged necks, our bad backs and stretched navels, all chipped finger and toenails, plucked eyebrows, stained teeth, brittle hair, and pursed lips. Lastly, liberate those two aged, shriveled aunties, our brains and our vaginas. Our careworn hands will clutch them as we make a caravan. Along the way, we’ll trade bits and pieces, sew and repair, as we women always have—my ski-jump nose for your undented optimism; your Tahoe blue eyes for my like-new short-term memory. Don’t worry, you needn’t see our kind again. Once sorted and organized, we will find our ways home, to deserts, oceans, and mountains, to rejoin our wild, endangered kin—butterflies, sea turtles, bees, wolves. But not before we unearth our long-lost voices from deep within the rest stops where we lost them long ago, to rise up together in swan song, hips swaying, hands clapping, not one note out of place.

Lynn Mundell’s work has been published most recently in Ghost Parachute, Blink-Ink, Fanzine, Portland Review, and The Airgonaut. Her story “Again,” published by Superstition Review, was long-listed for the Wigleaf Top 50 Very Short Stories of 2017. She lives in Northern California, where she co-edits 100 Word Story.