“Just flesh,” she said. “It cannot hurt you.” “Oh, of course it can,” I laughed a little. “It can obliterate me.”

“Why won’t you look at me?” Her voice pleaded; my resolve stammered in my breast.

“You are naked,” I whispered. And those were the first words I spoke to my wife. In shame, my soul aflame.

I knew she would not like such an argument, but I could not help but make it. What should I have said? It is only you I cannot bear, and I cannot yet face the reasons why? I wonder if you have any kind of mind or soul, when you have no head, the seat of reason? I fear you have only a ferocious heart, and that it, like your belly, has teeth.

Through clenched teeth she answered me, cold and hard: “I cannot help how I am made, John. I do not ask you to put your face away before I can summon up the strength to speak to you. I do not ask you to go blind for my comfort. A body is just a body, and all bodies are naked before God—how could any God count as shameful her own creations?”

“God is not a her.”

“So you say. Neither are you—I cannot think this is a coincidence.” – Cathrynne Valente

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