This Body Teaches Me

Air dense with trees and pollen, 

I couldn’t get a breath in.

Sent to live in an oxygen tent at age seven.

Short breaths

Left their autograph in my health,

And I am left with gratitude

That I can exhale chatter

And inhale what really matters.

One morning my jaw couldn’t move 

Because I could not speak my truth.

Locked up, clicked when I chew,

It taught me to speak my truth with candor.

Infections next level settled in my feet,

Blisters festered where rivers and ocean meet.

My feet grew into bigger boots

Packing babies and packs over slippery routes,

And because those feet have filled bigger shoes,

Talents for balance increased with my standards.

And it’s true that in protecting my heart

My back grew askew, 

Like hiding for cover could protect it from ruin.

Years of pain I now work to undo in yoga studios

But I am more nubile now than when I was new.

In my litany of complaints 

I do not seek sympathy or saints,

And the meekness of my weather vane frame

Will be not in vain,

For within my weakness lie my strengths.