Posts Tagged ‘birth’

Before you were born,

your hand had more muscles,

for instance the dorsometacarpales,

a reptilian remnant, an atavistic relic

from when all blood was cold blooded.

By the time you were thirteen weeks

in utero, a third of the muscles

in your hands and feet had fused

with other muscles. Your body

simply deleted them, proof

that before we are born,

before we are ready

to inhabit our forms,

we are in some ways

made less complex.

I think of this now as I open my hand

for your hand, think

of how much things change.

How once we had fins, then claws.

And now, look at us,

with hands that might caress,

might soothe, might reach.

God, this impulse to be warm.

And I think of how sometimes,

growth means to become more simple.

This is my prayer. To do

what the nascent body can do:

to remember where I came from,

to streamline, to know what is needed,

to know what to let go.


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I was born with ten thousand mouths,

all of them hungry. Feed me,

I said to the lake, and it spilled into me

its deep green and its months of ice

and its forgotten bottom. Feed me,

I said to the hill, and it filled me

with shadows and stones

and the tunnels of mice. Feed me,

I said to the mountain, and it served me

glacier and couloir and avalanche paths.

And still I was hungry. Feed me, I said,

to the book, to the priest, to the tree,

to the moon, to the man, to the boy,

to the song, to the earth. And I ate

and I ate and I ate and still I was hungry.

Feed me, said the world. And I did.

I fed it my heart, my hours, my eyes.

And for the first time, I felt full.

I was born out of loss. Year after year,

I took the world into me. At last

I find myself in the world.

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