Body of Time                                          by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg

Since the body became an I, it revels in being mine
and not yours. It bends toward drought,
and expands when it rains. It fits itself perfectly
in flannel sheets, around another body, held
in the concentric wind the ceiling fan makes.

This body of time takes another breath,
sends another valentine, ignores another blast
of unoriginal hatred as it learns new tricks:
how to hang upside down in ropes at the yoga studio,
walk across a wet field on tiptoe, or sleep standing up.

It’s a month old, or 11 years, or somewhere past 57,
and while it doesn’t know all the words to that tune,
it’s smart enough to know how it internalizes age
like a tree does as it rings out another year.

It’s all the time in the world I have,
so says the swirl of the fingerprint,
the indentation on the left ring finger,
the slight rise of a scar line on the clavicle,
the branches of veins on the back of the wrists,
the heart’s muscular clutch and release.  

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Ph.D., the 2009-13 Kansas Poet Laureate is the author of 23 books, including Miriam’s Well, a novel; Everyday Magic: A Field Guide to the Mundane and Miraculous, and Following the Curve, poetry. Her previous work includes The Divorce Girl, a novel; Needle in the Bone, a non-fiction book on the Holocaust; The Sky Begins At Your Feet, a bioregional memoir on cancer and community; and six poetry collections, including the award-winning Chasing Weather with photographer Stephen Locke. Founder of Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College, Mirriam-Goldberg also leads writing workshops widely.


Guest Editor Laura Lee Washburn is the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize).  Her poetry has appeared in such journals as TheNewVerse.News, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, and Valparaiso ReviewHarbor Review’s microchap prize is named in her honor.


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