Jenna Le


Ode to a Former Physique

My body in my twenties
was fabulously lissome:
I frequently heard praises heaped
on my “metabolism,”

a most mysterious force
housed somewhere in my frame
that swept each calorie consumed
into its greedy flame

so that my waist stayed trim
no matter what I fed it,
and folks supposed I exercised,
though I’d earned no such credit.

My organs were great engines
that knew no groan or glitch.
My veins were champagne fountains
that flowed without a hitch.

My ovaries brimmed with eggs,
like some sea monster’s nest.
Most ailments were scarce-heard-of things,
no reason to be stressed.

Aches and pains were myths,
fit for a bedtime story.
I’m not all that old yet, and yet
I miss that body sorely.

Jenna Le ( authored Six Rivers (NYQ Books, 2011) and A History of the Cetacean American Diaspora (Indolent Books, 2018), which won Second Place in the Elgin Awards. She was selected by Marilyn Nelson as winner of Poetry By The Sea’s inaugural sonnet competition and selected by Julie Kane as winner of Poetry By The Sea’s sonnet crown competition the following year. Her poetry appears in Los Angeles Review, Massachusetts Review, Verse Daily, West Branch, and elsewhere.