My Constitution

April 11
Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is really something. What, exactly, I’m not sure. In fact, I’m not at all sure I’ve produced what its creator had in mind but I had a lot of fun writing it. As usual, when in doubt, I opt to take things literally. Here it is:  “What does y(our) future provide? What is your future state of mind? If you are a citizen of the “union” that is your body, what is your future “state of the union” address?”

For those who are unfamiliar with the annual State of the Union address given by American presidents, it is a duty given in the US Constitution: “He shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”— Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution

My Constitution

The day before each birthday,
as the President of this body,
it is my duty to take stock and
address each of its members.
(I was elected for life,
in a landslide, May 1963.)

You’d think I’d have it down by now,
or at least that I’d come prepared;
after all, it is only once a year.
But every year brings its surprises.
I prefer to go by feeling —
address one part at a time.
The only thing I know for sure is
the beginning of my speeches;
for tradition’s sake, I like
to start out the same way.

So, this year, I’ll begin with,
Madame Speaker, members, my fellow parts:
tonight marks the fifty-fourth year that
I’ve come here to report on the state of our Union…
but know neither the final diagnosis
nor its prescriptions.

Each year, the task becomes more delicate.
It’s not easy to face my entire body,
especially these middle-aged days,
and take stock of each part – congratulate some,
console or scold the others.

For example, I won’t get any applause
from my stomach this year. I’m sorry but,
frankly, it needs to be put in its place;
the muscles went on strike sometime last winter
and there’s no way it’s going to be up to snuff
in time for bikini season.

My shoulders, however, will surely want
to lead a standing ovation when I praise
their quick and efficient response to physical therapy.
The thing is, the cranky ankles —
AKA the Twisted Sisters — will get jealous and
refuse to let anybody get to their feet.

Same goes for those upper arms.
Boy, those flappy folks got another thing coming –
and, you watch! — try and clap as my hands might,
they won’t be able to happy slap each other
because the old flappy folks
won’t want to be seen, well, flapping.

Maybe, just for this fifty-fourth year,
one by one, I’ll praise and pamper them all.
We’ll take a long walk together in the vineyard –
and I’ll pay attention to the ruts for the Twisted Sisters —
and I’ll treat each one of them to a full body massage –
including the old flappy folks —
and we’ll all stand united and tingle as one.

Written by Elizabeth Boquet, April 2018

9 thoughts on “My Constitution

  1. Liz! This is so inventive–the prompt was right up your alley. Isn’t it amazing that ‘constitution’ means exactly what you need it to mean? (As an aside, I apologize to the word ‘constitution,’ which I’ve never used in a poem and now feel guilty about it. There truly aren’t any ‘unpoetic’ words.) I love that the speaker was elected in a landslide (hilarious!!), and that she addresses each body part at a time and that all these body parts have personalities. Twisted Sisters, anybody?! I won’t be thinking of my ankles quite the same way… I rejoice with the speaker in that final line: “and we’ll all stand united and tingle as one”! You made my day. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I SO COMPLETELY IDENTIFY. Every year, applause from my stomach diminishes to almost nothing. This year it’s my teeth! (I had braces put on in this late season of life, and it’s doing Good Things for diminishing flappiness but it’s also extremely annoying!)

    I really love this. You write such sparklingly radiant prose, it just bubbles with life and zest and thoughtful practicality.

    Liked by 1 person

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