Body of the Whale
slipped for weeks walking on
a shallow incline. I could not choose
my steps or wear anything but out-worn shoes.
I could only be this one way and pray
I was not being deceived.
After many falls and aching ankles,
and my tears in constant flow, I decided not to move,
stay as a sunken root, let the mud flood
around me, driving me deeper into the stench.
Fears like a cord tied to my feet, tugging me down where even
undulation ceased and it was cold and simple, without cause
or mercy or chance of escape.
I am at the bottom, somehow still myself.
There are strange translucent reptiles brushing
at my extremities. No way to eat and no breath left to be had,
under here in this lightless territory, not much different
than the depths of space, than the place I was first born.
But there, I was one with the darkness, and the stillness of void
was tender, womb-like, all I knew. I will find that again here,
stop resisting, diffuse, painfully, but with the least amount
of rebellion or horror – dissolve like candy floss in a child’s
mouth until I join the blank weight digestive track,
welcome the bottom feeders and the algae pocket swirls
as my own flesh, until there is nothing left of me
but this indent bed,
the space inside this bed that keeps my body. And soon
even that will fold over, coalesce, as though it never was.
I was a daughter. I am not anymore. I was waiting
on a personal love, rescue like a clean wave coming to
liquidate my mind. I am not waiting anymore.
I have no strength for hope, no heart
to withstand the hurt.
I break a part and I gather, honouring
the end of my pulse and its reign.
© 2018 by Allison Grayhurst
Published in “Along the Way: A Contemporary Poetry Anthology” December 2018
Published in “The Blue Nib, Issue 24” March 2018
Published in “Chicago Record Magazine” March 2018
You can listen to the poem by clicking below: