Sometimes I step outside

our family river,

out of the flow

that sometimes floats me

from Monday to Thursday,

from January to June,

that sometimes pushes past my wading knees,

sometimes dunks me in an overwhelming joy,

sometimes dunks me long enough and hard enough

to make my hands scrabble along the bottom,

seeking purchase, direction, traction,

seeking up and out.

Sometimes I step outside

not to smoke a cigarette

or take a brisk walk

but to catch my breath,

to catch it like a firefly in a jar,

to hold it close

and look at its flash and burn,

to feel myself big and strong

for once

to feel that I could crush the glass

with my overcharged and pulsating hands,

these hands that pet my children’s heads,

that steer our car,

that feed hungry meters,

that stir sugar into strong cups of coffee,

that touch my husband’s soft ear lobe,

that shove themselves deep deep

into my jeans pockets

to steady themselves

steady themselves



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