I Am the Air


…an elemental poetry exercise from Imaginary Garden with Real Toads


I wanted to be water, like the drops
plucked from the air and suppressed
in ink, release releas and back inside me then
my words giving me my aether, my direction
because my speech and action fail me.
I wanted to be water, like a rhythm connected
to the tides buried deep in my gut, pulled
by the aether of me—Mother moon—but
I am made small and her inconstant moods
intimidate all that I feel and it shakes my pen.

I wanted to be earth—the dust of my very bones
shaken off the scarf of my Mother, warm and bent
and carrying me in a swaddle across her back, dry seeds
in her old palm and breath and all that I am;
like the barefoot worn-white aboriginal feet, mapping
their travels in song by way of the stars, their aether
a silent, endless recognition of each other’s worth
in how they move, how they read, how they recognize
wisdom by silence. My aether is somehow
off-beat, I tell it, because I think silence means I
am nothing. My dry lips rub against themselves
as I write another version of the same story, this one is
better, no this one, scratch, scratch, and toss and again…
I wanted to be earth, like the way you can feel

Mother’s heartbeat if you press your open body
into the grass and soil on a summer’s afternoon
and she breathes through you not against you,
poppies and dandelions bobbing when in the summer
we are all young, but fate stole my youth at an early
age and I am afraid when I touch the earth, I am rejection.

I wanted to be fire, watch the drop of blood
from my angles cut back and slice into words
like men, hatred, sex, passion, lust. My aether has a time
with recognizing fire can both consume you and save you,
it can be warm, it can be fuel, not a shot coursing through
like heroin in your veins, but a slow steady heat
that finds us as human, tenderness, compassion, and love.
I wanted to be fire, I wanted to be fire. Oh how I wanted to be fire.
But that silly doubt in the water douses my
trembling, aching steps, and I nullify all
that is written.

I wanted to be air. Maybe air is easier for me,
it may be hard to take it when I have surrounded myself
in all these elements, all these furies and shocks,
these things that make my heart pound,
so indecisive am I as I do the only thing that I know how–


that the only
thing I can take note of when such beauty surpasses
and leaves me, and comes, and leaves me, all
these opportunities to rise, I take note of how
I felt in that moment, how I stopped breathing
at a fierce fire, and beating earth, and slipping water
and I stood in the aether, every thing seemed to stop and burst and
my body is a fact, my breathing a choice, and for those
moments I understood they were startling enough
to be taken aback, to be left breathless, and then
the intake of air in and through and around me
spinning me dizzy, as I fumble for the pen
because I have come across the purpose of one true sentence.





15 thoughts on “I Am the Air

  1. I love the repetition of the “I wanted to be” and the inner outer journey that you guide us through – delving into the elements. Beautifully expressed – thank you, for joining in!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person


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