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October 16, 2020 Poetry

In the Gap

Leah Umansky

In the Gap photo


     after Meghan O’Rourke

so much of what I feel is strain and restraint, not
strength. I feel so much of my days are in want;
so much is distanced in frenzy, and in flight.
Where is the rapture? Where is the lifting off?
The elevation? Where is the strain lessened, put
down, let-go-of, released? And when will my eye
stop its fight for another eye? When, when, when
will the strain of the self to connect, stop
and delight in just that: the self. Maybe these last
forty years I’ve been told that I’m too sensitive, too
emotional, too inside my own head are actually
serving a purpose. I’d so much rather feel than not.
Maybe this time, I’m to turn even more inward,
reverse my gaze until I’m blood and cells and veins
and hormones. (Every feeling is just:  a feeling.)
My horoscope tells me to make appointments with
euphoria, enchantment and delight, but maybe I need
to reintroduce myself to myself. What if the fear
will be vanquished by this heart, and this mind
in race and in air?  Maybe this life is meant to
pause, to let go; maybe there will be some delight
in the unknowing, or maybe each of us takes
this gap and spins it into a story that makes sense
to us. Maybe that sense becomes nonsense or
maybe it is the good that pares us from despair.
We all hunger to hold onto something certain.
Keats said, there is nothing stable in the world,
and nothing comes from nothing, but doesn’t
nothing strain to be something?  I don’t know,
but I know about straining. I know.

image: Aaron Burch