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Posts Tagged ‘body’

Unsolid




After I’ve spent a whole day being stone,
my daughter plays our song on the stereo
and my body is whirlwind, a column of air
spinning round and round, gaining momentum,
and what once was sandstone in me is now dervish,
is dust devil, is momentary phenomenon,
and I barely recall what it’s like to be dense
as I sing and my arms rise and twirl
and I swirl through the room around my girl
thrilling in being this woman on this night,
this spinning delight, this whirling release,
short lived, perhaps, but oh for this twinkling,
I’m windborne, I’m dancing across the horizon
and the wind says, remember, remember this.

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Change in Perspective


 
 
Everything is made of simple forms,
said the art teacher—
a car, the body, everything.
And for the first time in my life,
I saw myself as an assemblage
of cylinders, spheres, cubes and cones.
It was thrilling, after fifty-three years,
to break down the body this way—
to see my fingers as stems,
my cheekbones as grapes,
my calves as long pinecones.
And for a moment, it all seemed so simple.
I am a constellation of forms that moves
through a larger constellation of forms.
For a moment, I didn’t think of the shapelessness
of ashes that conform to the cube of a box.
For a moment, I knew that wetness
falling from my eyes as just another sphere.
 

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Impossible Change



for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing
            —Galway Kinnell, “Saint Francis and the Sow”


Body that held the bloom of the child
as it grew inside, grew from one cell
to two trillion cells, body that stretched
and leaked and ached and tore, body
that was on board for a miracle, thank
you. Thank you for stooping, for chasing,
for bending and cuddling, for creating milk
and spilling tears and falling asleep as you must.

How empty the arms now, how slow the pulse,
how tight the throat, how strong this urge
to curl into what is not here. How hard it is
to open, to meet the world anew.
And yet every day, you turn to what is real
and, how is it possible, the heart, it blossoms.

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Temple




O body, cracked bell
that still sings when struck,
O leaky cup,
O broken stem,
I love you, body,
your crooked path,
your crumbling walls,
your faulty math.
I love the way
you stopped believing
you could ever
hold it all,
how you began
to let yourself
become the one
that’s being held.
I love the graffiti
on your inner halls—
scrawled names of all
who shaped you.
O body, my wreck,
my holey glove,
my street worn sole,
my crumpled page,
forgive me for years
of trying to fix you,
for believing the fable
of whole,
you, my perfect
splattered heart,
my stuttered hymn,
my sacred
begging bowl.

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Not everything broken
need be fixed.
Even the loveliest cup,
the one that seemed perfection,
the one that fit
just right in the hand
and held the favorite wine,
even that cup is only a cup,
and, being fashioned
out of breakable clay,
it was, we could say,
made to be broken.
The fact it was fragile
was always a part of its value.
In shattered fragments,
the cup is no less
treasured—perhaps
even more treasured now
that its wholeness
isn’t taken for granted.
There are some who
would throw the pieces away.
There are some who
would meet them with
glue or even with gold
in an effort to repair.
But there are some
who will cherish what is broken,
hold it even more tenderly now,
trusting its use—
though different—
is no less valuable.
Trusting a fragment
is sometimes more than enough.
Trusting in every end
is a beginning,
and we might now
sip our wine
straight from the source.


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Somehow the body knows what it needs.
Like how, minutes after the change of the year,
I find myself in the hot shower washing off
the old year’s skin with a violet sugar scrub.
I didn’t plan to scrape away the self
that no longer fits, but here I am,
sharp crystals in hand, my everywhere
feeling the tingle, the thrilling sting of the new.
What magic a simple ritual can do.
Can’t change the losses, no,
but I feel surprisingly willing to meet it all
as I step lighter, softer, back into the world.

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Condition





My body, thank you for carrying this ache,
for carrying it not like a burden, but like a baby—

like a gift, like something that will
change you and keep changing you forever.

Of course, you would want to shut down,
to close, to contract,

but I see how the grief grows you.
Though it shreds your sleep,

though it drops you to the floor,
you learn what it is to be a mother.

Through no effort of your own,
you are on board for a miracle.

So big, this invitation to love. Oh body,
you would never ask for this, and yet

you meet this grief every moment.
You find inner doors you never knew were there

and you swing them open, not to rid yourself
of the ache, but to grant it full access,

to know the grief completely,
to let it rewrite you, remake you, rebirth you,

to let it teach you what it means
be alive.

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Hearing Aid



 
 
I slipped my ear
into your pocket
close to your heart.
It wanted to be near
the steady thump
of those chambers,
a rhythm more reassuring
than any lullaby.
My ear likes it there
against your chest,
likes the warm hum
of your voice floating
over it, your words
indistinct through the cloth.
Forgive this eavesdropping
on the pulse of you,
but it is the only news
that interests my ear today
while the rest of me
works far away.
Yes, the only thing
my ear wants to hear
is the red song of you
like a faithful drum beating
here, here, here.
 

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And Mean It, Too

In every second, one hundred trillion neutrinos
pass through the body: One hundred trillion

subatomic particles move through us
as if we were sieves, no, as if we were nets

with holes so big that whole islands
travel through without us noticing.

It thrills me to think of the self so porous,
so leaky. Imagine if thoughts, too,

could clear us with so little friction,
so little effect. How many hopes and hurts

just today have I let stick? Imagine
them breezing through the aorta, imagine

them gliding through the brain, slipping through
the core of us, finding no purchase, no anchor.

Imagine the miracle that in any given moment
we don’t fall through our chair, our bed, the floor.

Imagine, permeable as we are, we still coalesce
enough to look at another, to see each other as whole.

We still manage to pick up the mesh of a phone,
succeed in moving our holey lips,

and hundreds of trillions of neutrinos later,
with total certainty, manage to promise a solid I love you.

Imagine, with these pervious hands
we might carry each other, might cradle

each other, might welcome each other home.

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Pneumonia

 

            —for A

 

 

And if I could, I would breathe for you.

I would inhale and exhale and hold

your breath for you. For you I would

sigh and rant, I would hack and pant,

I would be your lungs if I could. I would

ease this ache, I would carry this pain,

I would take away fear, I would be

the wind, the wild mesa wind,

the late April wind that blows change

into all we thought we knew

and rearranges the meaning of here.

No one could ever speak for you.

But I would breathe for you, friend.

Please, breathe, please keep breathing.

I need you to breathe for you, breathe

for me, please, friend. I wish I could

breathe for you, breathe for you.

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