The Weight of so Much Compassion
I chew the two slices of bacon that came with my lite breakfast and think about the people who hear voices and the slender margin between them and me –
birds with asymmetrical feathers fly better. I don’t know where I learned this, but I know it’s true. When I straighten my shoulder
I limp. My shoulder is leaning more to the right, but when my sweater slipped off a man took notice: I married him and I love when a book
starts with a family tree; sometimes I spend more time studying the family tree than reading the book. I scream
at the trees for stealing all the light; I hate how they knit above me, spitting sap everywhere, a private joke they share and maybe
the trees look innocent, but I will never forget the displacement of air, the long boom, tiny eggs cracking
I wait at the therapist’s office. A blond girl lets out a gusty sigh while a man thumbs his phone. A click, a red light and I cannot stay awake; I started knitting
a scarf to help me stay awake; the scarf is long and red and contains inexplicable holes.
It rolls up on the sides and I think about how some families can curl their tongues. We’re like a family here in the therapist’s office, a real family I mean; we hardly speak and no one makes eye contact but aren’t we
looking for communion? All of us, asymmetrical birds with our dense family trees, riding too fast on our bikes, arms outstretched and grinning like mad at that dim future
we who bear the dents of gravity on our bodies, the weight of so much compassion.
Erica Goss’s books are Night Court, winner of the 2016 Glass Lyre Poetry Prize, Vibrant Words, and Wild Place. She lives in Eugene, Oregon. Please visit her at www.ericagoss.com.