It’s a curious thing,
It sits in my stomach
and my chest
like up toward my throat
almost curling into my larynx
like a long-fingered grip.
Only once did I try to explain it to someone.
It’s like having a husky, fairly-uncoordinated child
bouncing on a trampoline
in my abdomen,
up and down
rise and fall,
like when the heavy silver pinball
shudders off the strobing bumper.
He flails his arms in the air
as he spasms through the tight
space around my heart,
and with wide, dilating eyes
he watches as the crown of his head
springs up and
closes off my airway.
As I gasp, his heavy feet plummet back to
slam against the floor of my stomach.
A curly-haired doctor
with bright eyes that remind me of cherry wood
is teaching me to breathe
through my toes --
to control the exhale
to quell the jumper
to write about it
and to not let it be what I am.
Speaking to the Concept of a Soulmate
When our daughter once asked me
Where her soul was
And I chuckled at her wide, gray-eyed curiosity
In your feet
You let it go.
Maybe you shook your head
In quiet disbelief.
Maybe you breathed –
A wordless sigh.
But you didn’t tell me
I told you so
When she came home from third grade
On a windy, November Thursday
Because Amanda and Thomas and that kid by the window
mercilessly mocked her confident certainty
when she declared to her class
that our hearts
grow, surive in our shoes.
It’s why barefoot isn’t allowed,
she had proclaimed
with all the assuredness of a girl
whose mom said
You are my right side counter-balance,
the weight that pulls me back to center
when I sprint out on my tightrope
so fast and so utterly unaware
that I am listing so far to the left that my
ear threatens to graze the dry earth below.
You are a deep, deliberately-slow in-breath
that calms the speedway of my racing heart.
You are the logic of the if-then
that orders the chaotic scatter of my unspooling
and the warm cup of coffee in the chll of 5 AM.
And you are the gentle smile
that puts our dismantled daughter back together
with quiet words
and simple truths.