Here alone am I the most vital thing if you don’t count the birds a hummingbird’s wings beat every .02 seconds that live in the canopy of trees above the headstones. I sit on a memorial bench near the edge of the cemetery to meditate but my mind wanders neurons mediate thought in the span of a hummingbird’s wingbeat and my heart shatters emotions fire .012 seconds after being triggered and I look at the graves not the old but the newly seeded and say, Rise. Let me see you: the waxy leather that once was skin, the embalming fluid where once blood circulated. Your punctured, breathless lungs. Your bones. When I was a little girl was I a little girl? I became afraid of skeletons after watching a horror movie and then learned there was one inside me. Maybe that was the beginning of being scared of what lies within but I counted on the distance between us muscle, fat, sinew, flesh to keep me safe. Still it’s only a matter of time beneath the dust and love and sweat that hangs on everybody there’s a dead man trying to get out (Counting Crows) and the safe space shrinks as I grow older; the organic buffer between skin and bone recedes. The skeleton I once feared is weaker women lose more than half their peak bone mass by the time they are 80 but not a bone has broken, not one in more than half a century was I a little girl? and now I love my bones but am ambivalent about my flesh. Still I am the most vital thing here if you don’t count the birds and I say to the former people beneath the ground, not those who died intact but the ones who went to their graves fractured, Rise. See me with your shuttered eyes: skin pliable, blood pulsing, breath full in my lungs. Take my hand in me your past in you my future bone to bone this we share and remind me of the moment when the quick become the dead, when I become you. Teach me to break. I am weary of being whole.
may you have
to hold 🙂
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You have touched me with your words…excellent 🙂
Thank you for saying so!
argh, I just wrote a fairly long comment about how much I love this poem… not sure where it went. Anyway, bravo. This is fantastic. I love it!
Thank you! Your appreciation matters to me.