Is Your Body a Temple or a Ruin

Michael Pittard


Wooden Boy doesn’t have an answer

to the question posed in Men’s Health.

Of course he hates his lanky, spindly body,

with its cracks & staples, rusting hinges,

his sharply pointed hair, always coiffed

on the left. That night he picks his fingers

to splinters, tries to hack his glued-on shoes

off, put his waist between the vice in his

father’s workshop, not strong enough to pull

the handle just enough to break in two. But

as he dangles there, feet kicking feebly in the air,

weeping weak oily tears that stain his roughly-hewn

cheeks, a soft blue light comes to him, dances

around his head, goes in one ear & out the other,

a tiny floating orb that seems to carry a piece of

music, just a few repeating bars, & to Wooden Boy

it is a solemn hymn, sung only at a holy site, &

the holy site must be his ravaged body,

this blue pilgrim touring the derelict remnants

of his body, & in the morning he looks at the

magazine, ignores the chiseled abs of the smooth

faced men, & he knows his body is a temple

because it is a ruin, because he has ruined it.





Michael Pittard is an English lecturer at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He has an MFA in poetry from UNCG and is a former poetry editor of The Greensboro Review. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Bookends Review, Red Flag Poetry and Poetry South. His criticism has been published in the Chicago Review of Books, Tupelo Quarterly, and storySouth.