Monday, March 7, 2011

287. Exerted by the Weight of Air

Coming up to night and past
the cusp of evening I find myself

wordless

Hadn’t during the day considered
what words I would use or what
I would make them say Seemed
somehow unimportant

or not quite so

Seemed like something that the movement
of the night would find a solution for That is
night would provide sufficient berth for

something

What it all comes down to What it all
comes across as Fragile words

(they can’t even hold the sense of themselves close enough to themselves that
the senses don’t slip right off their bodies and they become meaningless



)

You can see the problem
It stares out at you

I did think It did occur to me that maybe
There was an idea I had that I could mention
that today is an anniversary of sorts and one
that is appropriate because it seems
a counterweight to

(though maybe only a premonition of)

the loss we have so recently had
For today is the third anniversary
of surgeons’ laying their hands upon
my body Slicing through my yellow-pink
skin Sawing through my sternum
Cutting into my heart to redirect
the pipes that direct my warm red blood
through My heart My veins My body

I survived that event of my body

(though survival is only ever a matter of time)

and there’s one event I won’t survive
the timing of which is a mystery Though
on days like today With enough snowfall
to move about the walkways of my house
I feel sometimes too tenderly the simple
pulsing of my heart and how it strains
with blood It always takes effort to live

I return again It is a compulsion I return
to thoughts of my aunt

(our aunt of sorts though the particulars of blood don’t matter much)

and her own death long coming
yet felt hard when it came

Today I was remembering and I do not always
that I could not sleep in a bed after my surgery
Everything hurt too much for lying down

My heart was sewing itself back together My sternum
knitting itself back closed The red incision down my chest
and outlined in bruise yellow from maybe iodine
seemed to split open into the gash it was

whenever I lay down

Come night I would sleep in a chair
A dark-brown recliner like Nini’s
(without the blare and glare of a TV)
Sleep suspended off the ground
Tilted just a little Reclining enough
to replicate my old way of sleeping

But I did this only for days
And Nini did it for years
Oxygen in through her nose

Still she had that life to her
That self that was vibrant
A sense of joy at whatever
simple pleasures appeared
She must’ve been
teaching us how to live

just as she taught us how to die

It is one lesson we don’t want
but something essential

a means of keeping the dignity of the self intact no matter what

even in the way that she held her body
when her body had already become
too much for her At least we saw it

But I didn’t see it much Living
just too far from there And Adam
saw it most Being her constant
The source of her river Whose water
was always Breath Air Oxygen
In that dark room Filled with light
from a television The light slipping
in through the curtains Her own
eyes moving into a light and smiling

at what simple quiet time she might make it so

or

At what simple time we might ourselves go

You saw her though
more than I did and kept
her for us When we could not
be close enough to keep her
for ourselves She was not for
any one of us but we each saw
the need to be for her ourselves

Time is long If we grow enough grey
we know it’s long and wait for it
Yet the waiting isn’t the reason
It’s just a haunting The living is it
And Jeaneen ended by living out
to that subtle end Something she
could feel but maybe not quite know

She seems the last one of her generation
though she is just the last of the first half to go
All my uncles left And only their sisters gone

You now seem the first of our generation
A bigger one And messier We don’t know
where the lines of it go And enough have gone
already I am the oldest of the cousins left

Yet you are left in place In California
With something gentle like air pressure
from a coming storm Coming at you
A real pressure too The weight of thinking
We need to keep this family whole

And thinking

What movement could make this breath kept giving running to the end?

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