Such a sense of wasted effort,
Of focusing too long on texts
With endless words but little insight.
Then the workout, harsh, grinding,
As if to exorcise the demons of the text.
Finally spent, sinking down on the bench,
Sucking in the sweet air, grasping the steel bar
Ribbed with prickled dots--
A stay for sweaty palms--I sat.
My eyes noticed my hand, my right hand,
Creased with veins perpendicular to Phalanges,
The hand that cradled both the 12lb. shot in a
Record-setting effort as well as the Beloved's hand;
Both things of the past.
I had seen that hand most recently
When no longer quite my own, holding the
Microphone in the Spelling Bee poster
And then I saw the welling bead of sweat, formed into
A perfect circle between the knuckles,
Like a lake at the base of two
Towering peaks, capturing the runoff of the
Spring thaw. Such a small and beautiful limpid pool,
In which I saw a small reflection of the light overhead
An unanticipated glisten,
I gripped the bar tightly, and the pool became a Rivulet, a freshet out of season flowing down my hand
Slowly negotiating the ridged veins,
Meeting an obstacle and seeking a lower outlet,
Running down to the base of the thumb,
Then towards the wrist until suddenly,
With a gust of cool air, my ead dried up,
Disappearing like a stream in the Arizona desert.
Sweat, labor's gift, effacing the
Turgid flow of brackish ideas
Testifying for a moment to a different kind of work--
A work that reminds me
I am dust and water, flesh and bones;
A gift that rescues me from the aridity of vapid words,
That bings me to
Breath and water, spirit and limpidity.
I would be glad for another bead.