Practice Makes

Only the atoms of the soul are perfect spheres
with no means of holding on to the world
or perhaps no need for holding on,
—John Glenday, “Concerning the Atoms of the Soul”

All day we practice letting go.
How we hope the cherries
will be riper. But they’re not.

How we almost catch the pitcher
of water before it spills. But we don’t.
How loved ones seem farther away

than a phone call. How contentment
skirts in the shadows of trees, then
rushes away when we enter the glade.

That is not to say there was not happiness
today. The long swim in the river. The pulling
of weeds along the fence’s edge. How

neat the garden rows looked then!
And how red blushed the skin on my lower back
where once again I did not wear sunscreen.

Sigh. And I try to let it go. But there are unseen hooks
in everything, how they catch and snag and cling
to what we thought we wanted, or thought we had to have,

and we are tugged. Stuck. We are burrs in the hems of the day,
not yet able to perfect our fall from imagined grace—
like the perfect way the sun falls with no hitch,

no hindrance, no drag. We are learning to fall,
to fall like that, holding on to nothing, held by nothing.
And part of me believes it could happen—that we could be

content with things as they are. And part of me
fashions new hooks for my sleeves
and sharpens the waiting barbs.


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