Turning by Lucille Clifton

In my first post this summer I described my dream for it: feeling strong, long of leg, on my bike, gliding along the canal (stopping for ice cream). I guess to analyze the dream, it’s one of mobility, independence: the bike represents me knowing where to go and how to get there. The length is the length of my spine, is breathing easy; it represents anxiety and of course, my mother. The strength represents strength, which is to say, I was dreaming of a new body and how it must have inroads to a greater happiness.

Last night I fulfilled the dream; I rode my bike along the canal with O. It was graceless. It was sweaty and hot. I got Grasshopper Pie ice cream from the Dairy and it tasted great. I lost my pedals twice, spinning below my feet.

The dream is always different than its bodied truth (see: abroad, thesis, G.). In the dream, there was not a drought. I did not lose my breath. It was easy and lovely that way. But then again, my stomach did not hurt when O. and I could not stop laughing on the way home, each bit of my spine thrumming it too.

One week left at home. One week left at home. And yes, S., my books and articles are unread and there are people left to talk to and I’ve lost track of time in dreaming it all. But then again, how myself I feel. At last. How at home in this time and these people. You guys, how can I say how important it’s been to me to embark on this homemaking with you; apart, together? E., the first night we talked and for days after I was smiling with the new and excitement and laughter and rightness of it all? I send my love, so quickly grown, E., I send my care and strength and please, please, stay alive; you are worth so much and in so many ways. S., all the days I could feel you with me, in our separate libraries, in our shared thoughts, in the lines of my book as we read together? What a summer it’s been. What summers there will be. What a joy and a privilege to dream of them. What a necessity.

Lucille Clifton

turning into my own
turning on in
to my own self
at last
turning out of the
white cage, turning out of the lady cage
turning at last
on a stem like a black fruit
in my own season
at last

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