The Second Half

               inspired by Ross Gay’s “Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude”

by Lindsey Bronwyn Fisher


I didn’t know gliding chips

through a bowl of hummus

was a love act.


That dog hair

attached to shirts

was a type of embrace.


That it’s worth the effort

to use chopsticks over forks

and that freshly washed bedsheets

are tutors in how to be kinder to oneself.


Seven years ago

I sent out a radio signal to the universe,

stating I was ready for it to overtake me.


And it did. 


So if these rose bushes 

and hornets’ nests

were always here,

then thank you for waiting. 


If my backyard was always a marble,

swirled in the neurotic nature of squirrels,

then thank you for your moving presence. 


I want to say a thank you to pine trees,

whose meditating aroma

brings me into the present moment

where all sights and sounds

are witnessed and not missed. 


To rocks covered in moss, thank you.

Truly, thank you

for the way you let rainwater

trickle off your green. 


I am thankful now

for getting to slip on wet leaves,

for being able to bruise my elbows,

for my index toe

that is still purple

from jogging down a mountain at night.


I am thankful

for having a body

that pulses with blood

and does not dwell under unkept grass

where flowers are laid down

by the hands that miss me most.  


Thank you to those people 

who sit in burgundy leather chairs.

Every thought I have

is yours. 

Every word I type

is because of you.


They told me my alcoholism

is still doing pushups in the parking lot.


And I know that the sun still sets in the west,

that the vulture still soars at eye level

while resting on top of a mountain,

and that a shot of hot vodka,

hidden in an old boot, does not fill

the expanding territory of a black hole. 


That with every second chance

I must remember 

there is a part of myself

that is still a pillager,

presenting its wings to the air,

waiting for a carcass

to appear in the middle of the road.


That there is still a part of me

that wants all of me to dive.


But I don’t.


Because I have seen river bends

shaped like U-turns

and I have watched elk wade

into turquoise waters

where mineral-dripped-bluffs 

reflect the sun at day’s end.

Because I have felt the wind blowing

while standing on a cliff’s edge

and I have heard the tall grass rustling.


So I want to say thank you,

to my swim cap and goggles,

to the white flags

that let me know I’m five yards away

from hitting my head.


I want to express

how eternally grateful I am for knowing

what morning grass on bare feet feels like

and for what a loving body nestled 

against my back every morning

means to me.


I want my younger self to know

that a knife is just a knife now

and the kitchen drawer is its home.


I want her to know

that we will watch as butter melts into toast.

Golden and seeping sunshine

into every crumble.

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