I present two offerings this week.
The first is by Lyla Fain, a poet who through her writing constantly pushes to see beyond Self, thereby teaching us to do so as well. It only takes a moment to calm down and see through another’s eyes, to see through one’s heart.
Life Time, by Lyla Fain: Meditation response, Women Writers of the Well, 8/4/21
Breath in love.
Breath out love.
That truck guy
cut in front of my car.
Now I’ve waited
of my life
to get my prescription,
which I prepaid
for faster service.
Breathe in, breathe out.
on the back bumper
says, Vietnam Vet.
I’m totally against armed conflict, handgun to military weapon,
having read, “The Red Badge of Courage” in high school
and still grieving
my brother, David’s,
while at work,
shot and killed by a robber.
World conflict continues.
Breath in love.
Feel so relieved
this veteran survived that war
Breath out love.
Such a calming thought
to let go of my anger.
All it takes is a moment, as Lyla reminds us. Breath is life.
The second offering was inspired by Nadia Colburn’s class 31+ Days Meditation and Writing Course. The prompt was from Marie Howe’s poem, “The Gate,” and the line “This is what you’ve been waiting for – this.” Nadia asked, “What is this ness?” The word bank she offered was: sheet, water, gate, sandwich. In this class, we have 10 minutes to synthesize and then write, but really, she expects open-heart writing. A memory popped up for me.
This is what you’ve been waiting for… AnaValarie Singer, 8/8/21
The evening my father died
my sister and I waited,
watching him breathe.
In, out, pause…in, out, pause.
The room at Kit Carson
was calm and quiet
like my father’s breath.
We dared not touch him.
Those that had come earlier
in sobbing regret, held his hand,
stroked his cheek.
fighting a body that no longer wished to carry him.
We had a pact, the three of us.
None of that.
We sat calmly,
Quietly chatting, playing cards, telling
stupid silly stories,
packed peanut butter and pickle sandwiches
in case the wait was long.
We were ready.
Except, it just didn’t feel right
to eat in front of someone who
could no longer enjoy sandwiches.
A nurse stepped in.
We are fine, we said.
Glancing at my father’s peaceful form,
she stepped to his side to check on him
then gently rubbed his left ear.
My sister and I stared at each other.
“This is comforting,” whispered the nurse
as she smiled at him.
He did not rally to her touch.
This is what we were waiting for,
that small reassurance that all was well,
even as he stood before that last gate.
She smoothed the sheet over him.
Ready to leave, she stopped when
my sister said,
The nurse nodded.
“Not long now,”
and then somehow
knowing our need for
a short break, “You
have plenty of time to stretch
and get some water,”
she gifted us Time.
We followed her,
leaving my father to his walk
while we took ours.
Mid-way around the darkened hospital corridors
I saw a light to my left.
When I looked, a voice said,
“Now. You need to return now.”
I touched my sister’s arm softly,
Miraculously, she didn’t question.
I could not have said more anyway.
We retraced our steps to the
chairs by his bed.
My father’s breathing had slowed
My sister, playful spirit,
began to count,
sixteen between, twenty, twenty-two
The rest between each breath stretching
mile by mile.
She winked at me.
“He’s playing the game.”
“What?” I said.
“Look, he’s so happy when he can make
the between space last
longer and longer.”
A quick glance at her watch, “Thirty-five.”
My father’s lips curled into a definite smile.
The in-between seconds increased until
the space stretched to infinity.
My father’s expression
was full, triumphant, elation.
He had walked beyond this world.
His beauty was beyond reckoning.
It was his final gift for
his beloved daughters.
2 thoughts on “Just Breathe”
That second poem took my breath away.
Thank you, Katrina.