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By Rhina P. Espaillat

What the scale tells you is how much the earth

has missed you, body, how it wants you back

again after you leave it to go forth


into the light. Do you remember how

earth hardly noticed you then? Others would rock

you in their arms, warm in the flow


that fed you, coaxed you upright. Then earth began

to claim you with spots and fevers, began to lick

at you with a bruised knee, a bloody shin,


and finally to stoke you, body, drumming

intimate coded messages through music

you danced to unawares, there in your dreaming


and your poems and your obedient blood.

Body, how useful you became, how lucky,

heavy with news and breakage, rich, and sad,


sometimes, imagining that greedy zero

you must have been, that promising empty sack

of possibilities, never-to-come tomorrow.


But look at you now, body, soft old shoe

that love wears when it’s stirring, look down, look

how earth wants what you weigh, needs what you know.


Rhina Espailat, "Weighing In" from Where Horizons Go. Copyright © 1998 by Rhina Espailat. Reprinted by permission of Truman State University Press.

Source: Where Horizons Go (Truman State University Press, 1998)

  • Arts & Sciences
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Poet Bio

Rhina P. Espaillat
Rhina P. Espaillat was born in the Dominican Republic under the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. After Espaillat’s father opposed the regime, her family was exiled to the United States, where they settled in New York City. She began writing poetry as a young girl, first in Spanish, then English, and has published in both languages. See More By This Poet

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