publishing poetry only

Monday's Poem

Link: One Stone (Ekstasis, 2005)

© 2008 Barbara Pelman

Taking Apart a Solid Sense of Self

It helps that you live in a human body,
one that will inevitably
fall apart anyway and no steel
will hold it together: swiftly
or slowly, all its parts that once flourished
bone and muscle and heart and brain
will flounder. Perhaps it will be the joints first,
those intricate ball bearings of shoulder,
angle of elbow, the swivel of hips
that will rust in place, un-oiled,
or tatter at the boney edges. Or perhaps
it will be the skin, loosening
like old fabric, or drying out
like cracks in a desert landscape.
More likely it will be those invisible parts
that churn and rustle,
that pound and push, that jump
across cells and synapses, those parts
that open and close. And who are you
if not those cells, those wasted atoms
you have ignored so long. What self
can walk away, shed the skin, unhinge
the knees and hips, blow the last breath
into a place somewhere else, or not at all.

Despite many years of happy teaching, Barbara Pelman can't wait for retirement this June. Now she can write more, learn more, exercise more, worry less — and mark no more papers. Barbara is presently teaching at Reynolds School in Victoria, where she and her students have painted poems on two hoardings in the city, and hope to cover the town with beautiful poetry. She has helped make Reynolds a 'happening school' for young poets and writers, while continuing to write her own poetry. Many of her poems have been published in literary journals as well as in the Glenairley series of chapbooks produced by Leaf Press. Her first book, One Stone was published in 2005 by Ekstasis Editions, and her second manuscript is in the works.