Every day for decades she has swallowed
the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
They don’t make me feel happy, she said—
but at least I can get up and put
one foot in front of the other.
The Zoloft creates a floor,
beneath which I know I won’t fall.
That’s the best it does.
Walking, I thought of this floor.
I made my way along the bay beach.
Ice chunks collected next to rushes whipped,
beaten by early winter winds.
A thick layer of pinestraw padded the walking trails.
The wind numbed my cheeks. I stepped
lightly around a wire rectangle covering
beach hay, marked with a small blue flag—
endangered turtle’s nest.
On the main street, shops closed up
for the season, remnants of Christmas wreaths
stuck to the doors. No one inside.
Library, toy store, restaurants all shuttered.
Only the market and the library interested
in commerce of one sort or another,
winter vegetables, or books and DVDs.
Solar panels of a house across the way
caught sunlight, the grids glinted.
It made me happy to see this. I thought
of the floor beneath which I do not fall, the wood floor
of my study, the mat rolled out so I can sit and notice
my breath, notice how I feel. I thought
of the ground I knelt on yesterday, when
I cut down the dried miscanthus grasses
tied them with twine, stacked them in the shed. Solid
ground that lets me kneel, sit, tread on it. The ground
is the floor below which I do not fall.
All this allows me to awaken,
put one foot in front of the other,
into the work ahead. All this
binds winter body to winter soul.
My poem, “Floor,” was first published in Incandescent Minds, 2016