I’m standing underneath my morning shower,
the heat so welcome I can’t get my fill.
I have to use a torque of willful power
to turn the water off and face the chill.
So I imagine coziness of socks,
a hooded sweatshirt, favorite pair of jeans,
a pair of trusted shoes to cushion shocks,
and walking muffled into winter scenes.
And even though I know my state of mind
is indicating worse than sick fatigue,
I can’t help using symptoms to unwind –
I draft this sorry head cold as colleague
in my conspiracy to get some rest
and cultivate an attitude less stressed.
Her heel is first to strike and find a base –
she forward rolls to balance at her toe,
while tendons in her leg extend and brace
the limb against the planet’s pull, and so
her body pushes forward, up, away
from where it postured just a moment past,
and step by step the distances decay,
like heat mirages fade when followed fast.
She lets her movement masticate the blocks –
it feels like she’s decanting energy.
She rediscovers how her pulse unlocks
the avenues to anti-gravity,
and where the key to everything she seeks
is hidden, in the code her body speaks.
I mean to make you think along this line
before my composition’s fully sung:
Please note, as you pronounce these words of mine,
how you employ and where you hold your tongue.
Is it absorbing food you shouldn’t eat?
Or is it moving with my metric feet?
Is it another sign you’re over-stressed:
a lump against your palate, tense and pressed?
Now read me silently, as still as air,
and sound my syllables within your mind.
Allow your tongue to nestle anywhere
it wants to be, and let the spring unwind.
Until you are becalmed and at your ease,
employ this as a mantra if you please.
I’m out of step – I walk today in pain.
My neck’s a starboard ache, but that’s not much
compared to what I’m lugging to the train:
a load of rage and rue too deep to touch.
For I can rub my neck or rest my knee,
take aspirin, ice a sprain, or wrap a sore,
but nothing can assuage this injury,
and I can’t cast protection against more.
The candle flickers till I trim its wick.
The lantern sputters till I give it fuel.
Affection falters, and the heart once quick
is slogging in an atmosphere of cruel
confusion and exasperation’s trap,
spelunking in this murk without a map.
I’m healthy and resilient as a rule,
and I cannot accept when I’m unwell.
Along with feeling poorly, I’m a fool
confused by lassitude – I cannot tell
how serious or real my symptoms are.
Hallucination must be contact lenses,
and clammy sweat’s from walking fast and far.
A fever can explode my vain defenses,
or some severe and serious condition,
the sort that we all classify as dire,
that needs no argument or inquisition,
will make me seek the treatment I require.
A child charged with laziness and feints
of illness can’t assess her grown complaints.
At first my limbs protest. My muscles crack
as they wake up; I have to push my feet
to drive the pedals down and then pull back.
But soon my legs are pumping, like the sweet
repeating action of my heart, and eight
quick minutes later I have found my groove
of motion, music, language from a great
edition I can read in as I move.
At twenty minutes sweat can’t be ignored;
it trickles from my scalp to sting my eyes.
It soaks my shirt uncomfortable and toward
my seat it leaks a path, but wet and wise
I pedal ten more minutes past that point.
I earn momentum and deserve my joints.
Today is for recovery and rest.
I dedicate the daylight to a fix.
I’ll hold the dying dog against my chest
whose mess I rose to clean – four forty-six
this morning: dire sound before the birds.
She’s dreaming now upon her laundered bed,
but I’m a tired person, short on words
and on the verge of aching neck and head.
I’ve lately traveled more than I’ve been home.
It seems I’ve worn my office clothes for weeks.
I haven’t studied Spanish, made a poem,
or contemplated rain as window streaks
since when? I see a Sabbath now. I’ll sit,
till I recover stamina and wit.