The Symphony

The Symphony
When I first
split into womanhood
(forty – forty – forty years ago!)
the world split in two
like an apple.
Men were frightening,
women more so,
and some days
I hardly knew
which half to bite down on.
It was hot then
and maybe the sky
was a woman,
the river a man.
You couldn’t learn
these things in school.
It was hot
and hard to think.
Alligators, snakes, mosquitoes
bit. The air was
fat with flowers,
the slow, slow accents
of heat-colored birds.
I didn’t know
if I moved my legs
and arms or something
moved them for me.
Everything was alive.
That much I knew.
And I was alive too,
but alone. Is that why
I moved north
where gray sky,
frozen lake make everything
feel dead and people
crowd together
in heated rooms
to say real things
to each other as if
they had a life in common?
I like it here, like
getting older here.
Some gray hairs grew
the old-fashioned way
but some grew out of joy.
I used to think this place
could save a soul cleaved.
Lately, though, as I fall
out of womanhood,
I don’t think much at all
in halves or opposites.
If there is a time
and a place for everything,
maybe it’s here now,
when everything swims
through as if here
and now were porous
and everything is singing
Just You Wait.
Sherry Robbins, from Or, the Whale, BlazeVOX [books]

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