set one bowl, empty on a counter. count
each breath until you fill it.
sit down, alone in a room. count
each breath until you talk or move.
set two identical bowls, side by side on a counter. fill
one bowl with honey, one bowl with rocks. which
is heavier in your hands?
live your life in your body. on one good day,
how light do you feel? on one miserable day,
how heavy are you?
set three identical bowls, side by side. same
counter. fill the left bowl with marshmallows,
the right bowl with mud. leave the middle empty.
which do you hold?
after your good day, after your bad day, sit
alone in a room. count each breath, until
you cradle yourself in inadequate arms.
fill one bowl with water. find the perfect
place to see your reflection. count
each breath until you dip your fingers
in the water, blur your picture.
one morning, stand naked in front of a mirror.
count each breath until you walk away.
hurl your bowl against the wall. gather
its remains. count how many shards it made.
live through life long enough to be devastated. walk
through life, not feeling your fingers anymore.
glue together the shards of your bowl. re-
construct its original shape. fill your bowl
with water, watch the water trickle out the seams.
try to remember feeling whole.
Jessica Fox-Wilson is a part-time poet and a full-time educator. Throughout her career, she has pursued her twin vocations of unraveling poems and serving college students, with varying degrees of balance, luck and success. She writes about this balancing act at her blog, Everything Feeds Process.
related events is included in her recently published collection, Blameless Mouth. Jessica has worked on this manuscript for the last five years, exploring questions of hunger and consumption from a wide variety of angles, particularly as they relate to women's experiences. Woven through the collection are poems that are based on the stories of Eve, Hansel and Gretel, Red Riding Hood, Persephone, and others that explore modern pressures to consume more, while leaving us always unsatisfied.
I started reading the collection before the earthquake of February 22nd. I finished it while returning from a week's break in Norfolk Island - of which I will write more shortly - to a city where most shops are closed, and desires are more for dust-free roads, a hot shower and water that doesn't have to be boiled than for the latest consumer objects. It brought a strange shift in perspective. I debated which poem to post from the collection, until I came across this one near the end, and there seemed to be no question any more that this was the one to post. I chose on instinct, but perhaps it is the images of brokenness and wholeness that called to me.
Jessica has been conducting a blog tour to publicise Blameless Mouth. Other stops on the blog tour are listed on her blog here.
More Tuesday Poems are linked to from the main hub site - click on the quill icon in the sidebar.