Today's poem is by Barbara Ellen Sorensen
Song from the Deep Middle Brain
When everything around me tremors,
why should I be still?
Emerging from my left
side came this palsy,
my arm transformed
into a frangible branch of cold leaves
wavering, made slow, heavy
by evanescent wind and ice.
I closed my eyes and it was still
there in morning's bracelet light
that slid down my arm,
down to my fingers,
as though many synapses
spoke gibberish to one another,
unaware they were
sinking fast as sound
slips from ocean shelf to slope,
to rise, then, irretrievably from the plain.
My father's hands shook, Anya said,
as she manipulated my body
through warm water.
She held me up and her fingers
caressed each vertebra,
and I bobbed as if atop a wave,
a pale, scarred fish.
When I was a little girl in Poland,
she began her story,
we had to cross a border
and there were men demanding our papers.
My father could not open them
because his hands shook,
and his papers fell like the pappi
of dandelions onto a frozen ground.
Why are you shaking they asked him,
searching his face for lines
that might transmogrify it.
I am a child of war, he told them.
At this, they laughed and laughed,
but let us pass.
Why did they laugh, I asked.
Anya shrugged and said:
You see, many things can cause a tremor
I stretched under her
steady healing hands
as they coaxed my limbs
to release an invisible pain.
She knew of places in my heart
where I would eventually come to rest,
once I had learned
what children of war learn:
how the body submits
to absolution so it might again float.
Copyright © 2014 Barbara Ellen Sorensen All rights reserved
from Compositions of the Dead Playing Flutes
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
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