Friday, November 30, 2007

Stripping of a woman on the cusp of menopause

If only she could, she would pick up her arms
and give them to her children, her heart to her husband,
her womb to her daughter, but all her parts are ailing,
lying on the floor awaiting rejuvenation. She lies still,
receiving breath, broken down to basic particles.
What to do on the days when tears drop into her soup?
It’s ok to be sad and do nothing on the list, she thinks,
Except the simple tasks like laundry,
except read poetry. What better refuge
Maybe that’s where poems come from, and for,
to remind us there is something else to do
than the ‘to do’ list –
the soul cries for meaning.

She reads “Trees lose parts of themselves inside a circle of fog” (*by Francis Ponge)
It sounds like the stripping of a woman at menopause,
in the years leading up to the full withholding of the monthly blood,
she has shed her leaves, lost muscle strength, put on weight,
absorbed moisture before the season of dryness,
felt as if she has water on the brain,
disconnected and disoriented by the shift in hormones
waking her up at night and putting other parts of her to sleep.

She is not out to pasture yet, but the young colts no longer bolt
from her body or frolic at her side. She is slowing down.
And if she doesn’t allow herself to rest, she is brought to her knees
in a wave of heat and tears, unable to juggle her roles,
nor exchange the chef’s hat for the sombrero,
Her feet fell heavy and her mind dull.
She tells herself, it is temporary, like fall and the cold.
Brisk winds will return her to spring’s green time,
but only after she has lain fallow, composting
her leafy spices, at the end of a cycle.

Oh the music she needs to comfort her,
and the long night she’ll travel through for years,
until the bright sunlight reclaims her.
Then her wisdom is as legion as the new yellow-green leaves
waving on the hill at dawn.

Human, faulty, imperfect, no more striving for anything,
except for compassion,
the need for self-love reverberating
like the hum she hears in Leonard Cohen’s voice,
claiming darkness as its source
it rings true, full of light.

@Jennifer Boire

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