I’m posting this poem here today without much commentary. I wrote it after coming out of a certain calamity a number of years ago, and now it feels to me that it applies again as we are emerging from the pandemic. I had my own ordeals with the pandemic and as I write this, I find myself feeling the need to make sure that I let everyone know that I am fully aware that my pain was nowhere close to the pain others suffered, that my calamities and griefs and losses were minor in comparison to so many who went through much worse than I did. And all of that being true doesn’t change what I experienced or make it less painful retroactively. I’m telling you this so that you can remember it for yourself as well.
This is the year I swam
length by length back into my body.
I swam with smooth sinuous strokes and tireless limbs.
I swam without
faith, or a way to mark time. I swam in the
void the sea swallowed whole. I swam in soundless
solitary, stupefying, terrible and swift.
Now I rise like a heron in the midnight pond.
My spine is infinite, my bones divine.
Upon re-entry, I find my flesh
intact. It is worshipful, this vessel. Its
storm of neurons, its earthen feet, the prayer of my hips, my
heart’s cauldron. My ribs engorged with grief. My belly a safe house.
I shocked the clocks into obedience. In time, I will rise and
come to rest in this spawning ground.