snakes upward, with a little flickering tongue,
after so long beneath the duff and the pine twigs:
dead, they said, but
you know how it is with reptiles, in the cold
they shut down but
they neglect to die.
So in the mornings, I work out: I am determined not to lose muscle mass, and so far -- judging by my strength -- I have not. I lie on my back and explore this new lean body with my fingertips. Everything about it delights me, even the slight slackness of pelt that's slung like a pair of bandoliers, and the thin wattle at my throat when I cock my head a certain way. You can't be fat for forty years without it leaving marks. I'm content to bear my scars. Underneath it is all lean muscle, all strength and hardness. I feel old but deathless. Rendered.
When last I weighed this much I was soft, in so many ways. I have never lived in a body so serviceable, so apt, and I am not taking it for granted: this is a last marvelous gift from the dealer of grace.