The Body Gives (with recording)

 

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.

 

 

16 thoughts on “The Body Gives (with recording)

  1. Your poem is truly appropriate for these times.

    “…does the earth always rise up to greet me?” Reminds me of the part in Douglas Adam’s “Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe” where a whale suddenly materializes above a planet. As it falls downward to its doom, it wonders if the ground rushing toward it is a new friend.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Our bodies are gate-keepers … at some point, the gate will fling open, the body no longer needed (or able) and individual essence flows out into the all. In theory, this is something to look forward to. But, as conveyed in your superb poem, that’s not how most of us think! Most of us wonder all these possibilities (perhaps in so-doing, stressing our gate posts toward giving way.)

    Liked by 1 person

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