In the twelfth mile,
well after we were lost and found ourselves again,
we sit on a fallen log to think
about what it meant to get so seriously lost.
The scent of damp sweet grass hangs,
the heavy heads of wild iris nod in the limp breeze.
It’s important to know your limits, I say,
Some people never learn them, you say.
the leaves sing like water
the birds rush in the trees.
Sometimes, I say, embarrassed, I wake up and watch the tendons in the back of my hands as I move my fingers and I say to myself I am a delicate machine.
You practice the motion and smile.
The knowing and sharing of a too honest secret is a miracle.
My good legs that carried me well past the long hike I’d intended-
a miracle to tie the body to the soul.
“I would like to be a bridge”
I announce to my students.
They know me and understand.
Our delicate minds clasped, spanning the divide
a miracle of growth and recognition.
I tell you that God has spoken to me
through the new leaves of a once dead houseplant-
I have been reminded that not all growth happens on the surface,
my love and tender care has not been wasted.
God has asked me for my patience, I say.
You don’t laugh, as you might,
but tell me God speaks
when we need to hear Him.
“…but am small, like the Wren, and my Hair is bold, like the Chestnut bur—
and my eyes, like the Sherry in the Glass, that the guest leaves—…”
~ Emily Dickinson
March 20, 2020
…petite like an Arabian horse compared to a thoroughbred. My Hair is brunette, frizzy like a Weathered Cloud. Fiery highlights ignite Curls like a Match to Candle. Hazel eyes change color as quick as a sail upon wind during a Gale. My body mimics an hour glass, Sands of Time show a life lived—still hoping to see more. Its roundness comes from childbirth, food, and Italian genetics. My Breasts, like storm waves beneath clavicle, guard heart space. My arms are not long nor graceful like a ballerina, they are strong enough to carry pain, lithe enough to offer a hug to my children. My Eyes are wrinkled from writing and writing and editing as Poets or Teachers do. My ribs shelter breath as a Wren shelters her eggs with wing and song—nestling away from Uncertainty; wish I may hide away from Coronavirus, it’s devouring the world. It’ll Steal my lungs, it’ll Steal my loved ones. My tummy is anxious—rumbles—like soft Aftershocks from a significant Earthquake. My Nether regions aren’t Hell—they’re life and shelter protected by plump legs, muscled, robust enough to ride my horse into battle. Ankles twist like snakes and Connect to feet that carry me wherever I go—in these Uncertain Times—at this moment—a Tremendous Gift!
*This piece is inspired by an excerpt from a letter (L268) written by Emily Dickinson to her friend Thomas Wentworth Higginson (July 1862)
©Gina Marselle, 2020