Posted by: alegra22 | June 29, 2011

animal body

Last week my voice scrambled back down my throat. It nestled between the vertabrae, creating a small cave of quiet. I felt the ache of its presence whenever I tried to speak. I took it as a sign that I needed to listen more, use words less. This week my voice has returned but when I look to my left, when I look to my right, pain shoots up and down my spine. I am forced to keep my eyes ahead. There will be no checking both ways before I cross the street. I take it as a sign that I can’t afford the pain of second-guessing.

The air has turned cold. My skin shrinks away, trying to wrap itself tightly around muscle, sinew, and fat, but I’ve always been too porous and hungry for sunlight, warmth. The winter seeps into me, floods me, invades my bones. My mind turns away from the mornings that come too early and demand too much. It scrambles backwards into sleep to dream of landscapes full of sand ripe with heat and breaking waves and the rhythm of days unbroken by schedules, deadlines, numbers, expectations, demands.

After I’ve lurched through cleaning up spilled porridge, exhausted by trying to keep my words round and soft, after the many tentacled clamor of getting the children dressed, fed, lunched, and out the door passes through the house, I’m left stunned by the quiet.

I don’t turn toward my work, I can’t. It causes me pain. I walk in the direction I am pointed. To bed. To sleep another hour. To dream of outlines and themes and inheriting the keys to the kingdom.

When I open my eyes, the house is full of sunlight. My skin relaxes. Pain holds me by the back of the neck. I am carried through the day like a small animal that keeps losing its way. When I struggle, I feel the edges of life, its jaw tightening, preparing to give me a good shake until I surrender, pay attention, listen, allow myself to be taught.



  1. wow, i felt this one. i love reading the world through your eyes. from your perspective. even when you’re talking about pain. because i read to feel something. and i felt this one.

    (literally, too. i’m swallowing through 2 weeks of sore throat myself. though its summer here and that makes a world of difference…)

    • Ugh! So sorry you are sick!
      I hope by now you’ve had some health restored. I never seem to escape illness, even in the summer, but I never get used to it, and I always rally a war cry against the experience 🙂

      You just summed up one of the reasons I fall in love with writing: it makes me feel. I’ve never cared too much for ‘pure story’ unless that story accessed something in me that allowed me to experience the story.

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