what sings

I once watched a woman emerge from a pool. Her legs sliced through the water. It fell back behind her, shattered and helpless.

She lifted a white towel and let it drape over one shoulder in a movement I can barely describe, as if the neck of a swan were a poor imitation of her grace. She began to dry herself.

To this day, the memory I possess of her hands rising and falling is sweet and mysterious, like a puzzle which I have begun to solve, but have not yet completed.

Realizing how this woman was connected to her own body caused me to long for a different mode of being connected to emotion and sensation: a new way of being aware, of being conscious. Or perhaps I had merely forgotten what it was to truly breathe. Gradually, I began to pay more attention to my own breath.

A short piece of Adam Zagajewski’s, from the collection, Without End: New and Selected Poems, jarred my memory back to that sense of attentiveness. I will not comment further, but will instead allow the reader the chance to find his or her own music.

Where the Breath Is

She stands alone onstage
and has no instrument

She lays her palms upon her breast,
where the breath is born
and where it dies.

The palms do not sing,
nor does the breast.

What sings is what stays silent.


Flower and Nightingale, Persian

Flower and Nightingale, Persian

Posted by Jillian Parker

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