‘Each lifetime lived adds to the cumulative sense of loss.’
All Who I Am. . .
I feel the pull of the Polish one bent over her bread board,
pounding, kneading, smoothing the egg dough
into a satiny mound. Raisins, like eyes, half buried
in the fleshy loaf, stare at me, daring me to absorb
her rhythm into my blood.
Her aching restlessness I breathe already.
Her utter frustration to make new whips me to
a working frenzy, a woman possessed. She delivers me
to my bed in agony. With memory splintered, glinting
off the corners of my eyes, I find me. And awake again
to a morning promising me no relief from her visions.
My brow furrows, forming ledges to shield my eyes
from a sun that beats unmercifully. Sweat pours to drench
my body and nausea routes its way flooding
an overloaded circuitry.
The wandering tribesman leading the camel favors one foot.
Calluses shoot pain into the moon calf of his leg and I limp.
The tart taste of yogurt in his mouth washes clean
the sand out of mine.
Each step becomes a mile in length and his laborious effort
throbs in my temples. I will be harvest for the flies.
I cannot bear the heat anymore.
The air, sharp as a cut lemon, washes me. The children race in
their overlarge sweaters with roses painted on their
faces smooth as milk legs. Lace fringe curtains entertain
the visitors agape at the starkness, the simplicity,
the square picture. I am at home.
The arctic terrain beats my blood to a froth with exuberance.
My sturdy body matches my earth. My love shields me,
woos me and I am as cherished as a milk cow in a land
of sparse grasses. To each other we are the heavy cream
poured on a dish of skyr .
How far back do I dare reach to uncover all who I am?
Is part of me racing, black skinned and hot, basket overflowing,
precariously balanced on my head and heart beating
outside my skin? My loose breasts clap-clap in pain
against my rib cage as I hurry to make up time spent chatting
with my sisters, fearful of the masculine outrage brewing?
I sit at my desk, surrounded by the present essences of
today’s people, today’s commitments. The air is spicy with
fomenting earth. My brow does not furrow from the heat yet.
Summer’s dog days will arrive too soon.
I ‘ve reached backwards and sideways and tasted portions of lives
both palatable and unpalatable. But altogether rich. Is my
fatigue of genetic empathy, perhaps imagination gone wild
or an accumulation of too many lives lived, too many
sorrows sorrowed, too many dreams dreamed?
The answer will be mine. With my departure I will take
the sum of my days, the loves loved, the dreams unfulfilled
and all who I am and walk again the cosmos.
And because of my love for me I will create another world.
Due to my cumulative sense of loss. . . .
There will be no more loves aborted.