A Trick of Grace

by Deborah Miranda

There are women in Africa who can walk further, carry more, and arrive at their destination better rested than army recruits or longshoremen bearing similar loads. Researchers say the women move like pendulums.

I move toward you
as if I know how to carry
this thing in my heart,
as if my body can bear
desire and trust, want and faith.

Some days I stagger
like a raw recruit, sweating
under an awkward pack;
some days I blush with shame
like the longshoreman
who can't hoist one more pound.

But I'll learn this honest walk --
how to sway, wait, balance.
The secret lies in letting
what has the power to crush
pull me forward, instead.

I move toward you,
though it takes years.
I relish this weight,
what my body cradles:
in all her intimate aspects.
O, I want to be graceful for you!
I want to arrive
at my destination
bearing this gift,
breathless only
from the sight
of your face.

From The Zen of La Llorona, Salt Publishing, 2005.
© 2005 Deborah Miranda

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