This is Being 25—a poem

this is ridiculous—this life: its ebbs and flows, its strange songs and uncanny, unexpected blossomings

I became more aware of the beating hearts of things—cities, places, people—the energy they give off and take in
their breath always steady—in, out, in, out, in

and the music, its steady thrumming, the shuffle of feet, of fingers, curling in on themselves, the rustle of collars from heads turning away from the mess of their own existences
—’elsewhere’ becomes a familiar sound

and words too, an endless stream, a river—tributaries coursing over and through everything, leaving in its wake sediments, crystals, that you pick up and arrange into a poem, a song, a paragraph

after all, this is what we have been given to make sense of things, to articulate the world with, with all its gasping expansions and contractions—somehow,
somehow, it must be enough

I remember reading about a rag, a torn muslin of sorts—you hold it up and look through it, and I remember thinking about essences and about capturing them
it’s taken me ten years, and I’m only just figuring out how to begin doing so at last

and light—how it hovers at the edges of things, how it grows soft then harsh then dim again, and how it changes life itself
—I have found myself gravitating towards soft light—the soft folds just after dawn, the warm pools in your palm, the kinds just out of focus
—something to round the corners of the day, to bring things to a gentle close

I find myself more easily tender now—dilating, thawing—slow resin creating patterns only a trained eye can see
—hands becoming steadier at the wheel, learning to navigate an unexplainable map, learning to cruise it, with its starts and stops, learning not to trip at its sudden bursts of speed (I still do)
learning not to bleed out at its sudden losses, not to engorge with its sudden gains

to find that stream on loud days, to follow its trickling source, and to sit there, for a day or for a minute—content, quiet, calm

and when I find myself exploding into another mosaic, I close my eyes, and in my head remember—the scratch of pine, the whiff of spruce—always a surprise even after the hundredth time—, ankles sinking into a bed of snow suddenly giving way, the laughter of birch bark, suddenly dappled and bright, the first maple leaf of spring, cherry blossoms decorating a blue sky
—there are memories that will hold you for a lifetime

—there are others that will always leave a tremor in your fingertips, the ones you fold neatly and tuck away into the back of a drawer

this is being alive to touch—wood grain soundlessly scraping against the bottom of a ceramic mug, a tissue crumpling in your hands, smooth metal cold and familiar

I miss things all the time—
so I create more things to miss
more moments I can hold without worrying about burning my hands on

and after you look up, after you open your eyes again,
you throw yourself back into that stream of living
and you continue learning how to swim

this is being alive
this is being 25.

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