Last night I read wondering if you’re a good or bad person will only cause suffering. Which was an interesting & true take on the need to sometimes shed the self like an old skin & sometimes throw it up like when my kitten had her first hairball the other day & screamed the whole while. What was that, she demanded from an answerless sky. Once it was out, though, she licked her lips & walked peaceably away. I think I love other species so much because they do what we do but with so much more grace. They know how to let go. I stand still. They know how to step away.
It feels rude to fall in love in the midst of death. But it’s irresponsible not to, really. Every morning I wake up with the choice: how much do I want to limit my limited time? Wild possums roam my yard. I take a cue, I open up to instinct.
A teacher tells me, every change is a promotion. I have spent whole lifetimes with my heart as a cat wanting outdoors, then indoors, then out. I know the ache of standing forever in the doorway. I know it & I don’t want it anymore.
After the Fight
But it’s the oldest story—reader, I love what I’ve built of him. I’m growing thin again. You can see it in my face. My eyes two wells full, a broken bucket. Time will be honest as a sword.
RUTH BAUMANN has a PhD from Florida State University, and teaches in Florida prisons. She also is the author of two books of poetry from Black Lawrence Press.
Artwork by David Dodd Lee.
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