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Posts Tagged ‘body’

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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When pregnant, it was clear

I was along for the ride with a miracle.

Sure, I could eat organic broccoli,

walk and eschew caffeine,

but that was just taking care

of the vessel. Life itself

was doing the real work.

 

Imagine my surprise today

to realize I’m still along for the ride.

How did I ever kid myself

that I was in charge?

And oh, the bliss today

to notice anew these hands,

these eyes, these feet!

What joy to see them again

as the miracle they are,

to offer them in service to life.

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While I Was Sleeping

 

And while I was sleeping, dreaming yet again

of being on stage without knowing my lines,

my erector spinae muscles decided to wrestle

with bears and my rhomboids crash landed

after the parachute didn’t open. My levator

scapulae muscles lifted ten refrigerators and

my trapezii danced in stilettos for hours. Is it any wonder

I woke unable to move my neck? There are days

we realize just how grateful we are for parts

of the body we never could name

until today the bodyworker wrote them down,

how lucky we are to take them for granted.

There are days when we wake and realize

how much happens in our sleep. There are days

we think how much easier it would be

to just end up on a stage not knowing

our lines. Darn those bears. Darn those high heels.

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Swimming to the Island

 

 

 

I didn’t intend to swim to the island.

Told myself it was just a quick slip

into the water. Told myself I would

rejoin the others soon. But the water

said yes to me. And my arms and legs

seemed to remember then

exactly what they were made for.

Sometimes we’re in service to something

more primal, a voice that says go, go,

keep going, though there’s no race,

no finish line, no prize, no spectators,

nothing but the thrill of becoming

the body’s bright verb. Feel how

the water buoys you, even as your weight

pulls you down, how it shimmers as far as

a woman can swim, how with each

stroke of your dripping arms,

the lake christens you again and again

a child of this very here.

 

 

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