Writer, editor, teacher, other.

"Vertigo" (AGNI)

My poem “Vertigo” appears in the latest print issue of AGNI, which makes me very happy. 


Last year I started taking a yoga class, and I enjoyed it a lot, even though I found it challenging. I’m not good at being single-minded——I tend to multi-task on many things. So the idea of meditation was difficult for me. I liked it, but it took a while to master. The poem arose from one of those pre-mastery moments.


In the same fall, my brother started doing yoga, too. He did it at the rehab facility he was at, as a way to learn coping and stress management and relaxation. We laughed every now and then about the incongruity of it—-he wasn’t prone to meditation or introspection. 

After he died, I went back to my yoga class. I cried through the first one—the first thing I did by myself after he died—but I got through it. I quit going eventually, for a number of reasons (someone very loud joined the class, and I just found it not very restful any more), but I do it on my own sometimes. 

This summer, at the start of a long road trip, I found myself at the family farm. We were in the den, watching the tribute to “Big Man” Clarence Clemmons. I moved into a pose, steadying my gaze on something in front of me. At some point, I realized that one of my friends had turned around to watch me rather than the television, but I couldn’t meet his gaze—I knew that moving my eyes would make me lose my balance. 

There’s a metaphor here somewhere, but I’m not going to reach too far for it. 

Or maybe the point of the story is that I’d learned the value of focus. 

Or maybe morals are myths and O’Brien is right: there’s no moral, no true way to tell a story of war or any sort of battle.

But we keep going, keep reaching, keep telling. And ultimately, I think that’s good.