POETRY
An Open Letter to My Arm Flaps
Kai Coggin
Writer of the Month

Dear fleshy flaps of hanging fat under my arms, 

Hey, you two. 
How’s it hanging? 
Listen, I know we’ve had our differences, 
and I really only loved you
when you disappeared for that year, 
after I lost 100 pounds …
but don’t worry, I found it again!
and there you are swinging wildly, 
making my arms fit into dress shirt sleeves
like tight meat in sausage casings, 
but I’m not hating you anymore, arm flaps,
no, I come today in humble reverence, 
I’m on my portly-padded knees in gratitude. 

I write this letter to lay a trail of
a thousand white gardenia petals
from my fingertips to armpits, 
cave dwellings
with hanging rafters of fleshy weight waiting, 
eaves of adipose tissue, 
I think I would miss you, 
if you were gone. 
I want to lift you up, 
move you like warm putty in my hands,
mold you into the shape of love.

I do love you.  
Both of you.  
You make the gentle quiet
of my embrace
a supple home for a lover, 
a warm swaddle of skin and silk.
You are what makes my body an ample hideaway, 
voluminous dwelling, 
holy velvet waiting to fall.

Once hidden arm flaps, 
I now consecrate you as perfection,
a resurrection from burden and shame
into soft glowing wings, 
delicate undulations of wanting, 
of pulling in, 
of wrapping around
and holding close, 
corpulent flags of beauty and plumpness,
glorious wingspan.

Yes, I name you my wings,
my low-hanging sails
that lead this body
across every moving ocean,
how you catch the swirling wind
and
suddenly,
we are flying.


Kai Coggin is a poet, author, and teaching artist living on the side of a small mountain in Hot Springs National Park, AR. She holds a BA in Poetry and Creative Writing from Texas A&M University. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Blue Heron Review, Lavender Review, Broad!, The Tattooed Buddha, Split This Rock, Yellow Chair Review, ANIMA, Elephant Journal, and many other literary journals, as well as anthologized in several international collections. Her first full-length collection PERISCOPE HEART (Swimming with Elephants Publications 2014) is available at kaicoggin.com.

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