By and large, our bodies are neutral.
Diligent, methodical, invisible.
We know we have joints, muscles, tendons, bones.
Until we look in a mirror we forget about the whole
Because it is not critical, not present.
Impact and illness are rebukes.
We do not feel our feet until they strike the ground.
We are not aware of our skin until it is hot, cold, or being caressed.
My throat sits silently under my chin, until it is in pain.
Then I am made fully aware of a tube in my body pushing air painfully in and out.
I hear you body.
I have made contact.
Fingers to throat, tender and aware,
Suddenly finding thin skin and gentle bends
How long have you been this way?
And how do I make you invisible again?
That is the goal – to keep the whole from fragmenting.
Women sit in the padded beige chairs, glued to phones.
There is no eye contact.
There is no fear to match possibility.
Nurses in pale pink uniforms sing out surnames
And whisper “this way” in the necessary languages
To assuage the tightness in our shoulders.
Fear makes my answers sound hopelessly dumb
I am suddenly ignorant, thick-tongued, and demure.
I settle in and strap down into fear.
Let it stretch my stomach lining,
Poke my kidneys,
Cramp my guts,
Tingle the part of my spine in my neck,
Until I cannot see anything except possibilities,
Looming, turning into solid, horrible, truths.