Monday, October 26, 2009

"My body knows things my brain has no idea about"

"My body knows things my brain has no idea about"
Title from a line by Heather McGowan in The Duchess of Nothing

(Note: I don't think of this as a "finished poem", but rather as riffing off the line mentioned above. But nor do I think only "finished" things should be shared--it's all about keeping the wheel turning).

My body knows things.
Like: how to pet the cats
What to do with the root-bound plant
And how hard to shake it
How the soup will taste and
Why it should taste that way—

I am like a Volkswagen-sized leatherback turtle,
Climbing out of the tide and up the beach where she was born,
Finding a spot in which to bury her eggs—
Hundreds of them, ping pong ball size—
Some of which will hatch babies that in turn
Will have to figure out where the ocean is
And how to make it there
Scuttling across sand in morning sun
Hoping to escape a predator's hand.

I am like the albatross, courting, clack clack clacking
In a dance of fidelity, catching the female's eyes
And convincing her to partake, to dance back,
Two coquettes, unending their mating ritual
For minutes upon minutes upon minutes,
Somehow knowing it needs to last
In order to mean something lifelong.

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