Image description: A young woman seen from behind, clutching the top of her head. The muscles of her back are strained and ridges of her spine visible. From Pixabay.
Both poems deal with the relationship between mind and body, exploring both the positive and negative sides of physical awareness. Confluence contains references to characters you may recognize from other posts, while Ode to My Muscles deals with a topic I've rarely touched upon here: my experience as a disabled person.
So, without further ado, here's...
Ode to My Muscles
If you say the creator is a sum of her parts,
consider me one crown of the head,
the enchantments of tradition that must be broken
in a world aching for change. Consider me
one mass of grey matter so sharp it slices
human psyches apart, consider me
two eyes with lashes that flutter like wings of hope,
one tongue relishing the flavors of human emotion,
two shoulders weighed down by the burden of love.
Consider me a nervous system, synapses firing
signals to connect with all souls, one gut
that while stabbed with pain will not give up the fight.
Consider me two hips that shake continents when they swivel
and leg muscles stretched taut
as if to let an arrow fly at the injustice
forcing them to bend and break.
No, I do not believe
that I am Mathylde
plus Lilah plus Jav
and none of myself.
No, for I live in the confluence,
the rich silt at the mouth of the stream.
But when I pray, it is in hope
that the God all around us
counts us creations as a body
—my cell as unique and meaningful
as the whole—
as dearly as I count mine.
The words for you were hidden in your fibers,
buried in your tissue, emblazoned instructions
on every cell membrane to jerk, shake, whirl, and beat
to a rhythm of your own making,
as if I were meant to dance while still.
You who are taut when the brain says to bend,
you live in a world of infinite impulse;
you weaken my grip and pull me back into the body
I yearn to escape from each sleepless night.
I do not blame you, my incessant muscles,
though I ache to unstring you like bows
and lay you to rest by the riverside.
For I have wept at the thought that you were never there,
And as I walk through this chasm between cerebrum and palsy,
I find that I have fallen a little too much in love
to call you, the indomitable, my enemy.