local_library No Longer Touching Anything

by Greta Moran

Published in Issue No. 217 ~ June, 2015

The rock salt now grinding

under my tires came from

an ephemeral lakebed or dried up sea,

and as to where it was before that,

I do not know.


Does this fact

make me happy or sad?

I can’t say.


Degenerating is my ability

to say ‘I like this’ or ‘I don’t like this,’

to clutch something firmly

and know it to be true.


I envision my mental fibers

as this spliced, tangential creature.

I think of the stoicism of trees.

I feel that I am a red-bellied

woodpecker in a test of endurance.

And then I don’t.


Sometimes when I attempt

to relive what just passed

through my mind, it comes undone.


I imagine the sun’s rays swapping

at me like the most half-hearted of lovers,

cold, refracted light moving over me

between a glass screen,

between partings in the clouds.


The upheaval of pollen in the summer

makes feel part of a whole,

a greater radiance.


Lying in a field, somewhere, anywhere warm,

my spine loosens as magnolias open,

the creases of my body are smoothed over by dirt,

by the earth assuming my skin as its own.


But in the winter a screen materializes

between me and the earth,

and I am no longer

touching anything.


I live in defined horizons

marking land and water, the neatly

traced border of a map whose maker forgot

how the ocean endlessly consumes and

relinquishes the sand, how all

of our cells rupture in time.


Sometimes I wonder what it is like to be eaten,

split open,

ground down like salt under tires,

so my inside can finally commingle

with the outside.

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Greta Moran studied English literature and creative writing at Reed College and documentary writing at the Salt Institute. She has published poetry within Lumina and Stirring: A Literary Collection, and co-edits Body Verses (www.bodyverses.com), a website devoted to stories of illness and the body.