praise poem

last night you sang to my body 

praised every inch of it 

made it feel rare and royal 

spoke to it the way you might speak 

to a child in need of self 

esteem     taking time on each part 

the mouth and the tongue 

the nipples and the chest 

praising the severity 

of the circumcision    and how 

I talked to the older couple 

in the bar who had been praising 

my father       I’d thought my body 

dull and base   I’d though it loose 

and wilted from the weight loss 

but you composed hymns to it 

cleaned it     bowed down before it 

as though it might save you 

From playtime (Jonathan Cape, 2018), © Andrew McMillan 2018, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

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