Grace Lapointe

Incorruptible Bodies

(listen to the poem, read by the author)

1) The Shrine

Centuries old, these corpses are uncanny
Appearing unreal and made of wax
Hermetically sealed, suspended animation
In their glass and gold coffins,
Like Snow White.

To some, they are perverse
Grotesque sideshow attractions
Tourists scoff and gawk
At vestiges of medieval beliefs

In different circumstances, perhaps
They would not be saints
But witches, vampires:
Exhumed, vanquished, re-buried
Their teeth and nails appearing to grow
As the gums and nail beds receded.

Yet, to the pilgrims
And to the nuns guarding these quasi-miracles
The link is clear
Between wholeness and holiness
Uncorrupted bodies a promise
Of the life of the world to come.

2) The Resurrection of the Body

Walking on the road to Emmaus,
The disciples saw Christ
In his new, perfect, resurrected body,
Which they did not recognize.
If that is the promise,
Then give me oblivion.

Nobody is incorruptible
Impervious to evil
No body is incorruptible
But a disabled body is not a corrupted body
A degraded body.
All are perfect and made in God’s image
All or none.

If an afterlife is where
The lame walk, deaf hear,
And the eyes of the blind are opened
Literally, not a metaphor or mistranslation
Let only those who wish to change, do so.

For me, if my reward
For a lifetime of learning to accept this bodymind
Is a new and better one
Transformed more than others’

If the eye of the needle
Through which I must pass
Makes me no longer myself
I believe that cannot be the answer
But if it is,
I cannot
I will not serve.

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About the Author

Grace Lapointe is a writer with cerebral palsy and a regular Book Riot contributor. Lapointe’s publications include Wordgathering (two issues), Kaleidoscope, and The Deaf Poets Society. Lapointe’s stories and critical theory essays, including one that was written in college, have been taught and cited in college courses.