Downward Dog

Through the changes, the forms persist:
swan, eagle, cow’s head, warrior.
How many times have I lain in a twist,
attempting to exhale the sorrow

by swan, eagle, cow’s head, warrior?
I’ve failed again to seek what I require.
Every attempt to exhale the sorrow
only illumines the repetitive nature

of this failure to seek what I require.
How many times must I start from scratch?
Someday the repetitions of nature
must end, though the postures last:

how many times can I start from scratch
as bodies pile up? What looked like love
must end, though the postures last.
Again I admit what it really was

as the bodies part. What looked like love,
we were holding up like a bridge.
Now, admitting what it really was,
I also remember the joy, the surge

of strength in holding up the bridge
even as he withdrew the support,
cruel, unburdening. The joy, the surge
of strength are hard to detect as I mourn

but — even as he withdraws the support —
find grace I didn’t know I possessed.
Strength is hard to detect as I mourn,
but practice confers it, even at rest,

with grace I didn’t know I possessed.
In word and deed, he loved me back,
but practice confirms it, even at rest:
I’ve lost a thing I never had.

In word and deed, he loved me back.
How many times have I lain in a twist,
grieving for something I never had?
Through the changes, the forms persist.

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