The Body Gives


The Body Gives

Sometimes the body gives too much.
A tendon frays, the heart mumbles
and no one sees the damaged parts.

Ignoring pain, we continue climbing ladders,
sandpaper breath rasping the morning light.

Little bits of us crumble all the time,
yet we stumble on, pretending.

Then the body kills us with its enthusiasm.

Cells duplicate wildly, plaque explodes.
This enmity within? Defensive maneuvers.

Working alone, I wonder where I might end.

On the floor. In a field. Atop the bed.
Under the surface of a rippling pond
or drifting with smoke

through a snow-clad afternoon
at eight thousand feet. Among
the grocery’s tomatoes and squash
approaching the end of a long list.

At the bar, glass in hand, or in a truck
at a four-way stop, the radio blaring.

Time enough for speculation, they say.
But I wonder: when I jump,

does the earth always rise to greet me?

“The Body Gives” first appeared in The New Reader Magazine, in March 2018.

30 thoughts on “The Body Gives

  1. This whole “aging” thing is bewildering…the gray hairs, the wrinkles are bearable, even interesting; but the bizarre aches and pains that crop up and insist on being acknowledged, that disrupt sleep and remind…these…!

    I hope, whenever I jump, the earth will always rise to greet me — and you, too ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this contemplation, Bob, as I consider — by necessity, ever more — the little bits crumbling all the time. Speaking of which, Happy slightly early or slightly belated Birthday; not sure of the exact date.

    I’ll be missing from your comments for awhile — away from home celebrating that same milestone birthday with my best friend (hers soon, mine in November) — but I’ll see you again in later September, my poet friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: The Body Gives — O at the Edges – CRAIN'S COMMENTS

  4. I suppose aging to the point of confinement in a nursing home would reduce anxieties about where the end might come … I prefer more freedom and more mystery! This poem gives me pause, though – recalling two separate years I worried I’d go into labor on the job (a good hour of freeway traffic to get home), with no privacy, oh horrors! Both babies waited till after due date (hence my last day of work) long enough to annoy …
    Dying in the market vegetable aisle would disrupt … but would it matter that much if I were the one suddenly gone?
    Here’s to trusting the circumstances … whatever they turn out to be.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The body killing with enthusiasm…so hard, because it is insistent on sinking the entire ship as well, not to mention polluting the surrounding waters.
    Better to go as my grandfather did–just keel over in the barbershop, after a long and dignified life.(K)

    Liked by 1 person

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