A visit from The Healing Muse: 'What Cracks Open'
Deirdre Neilen, PhD, shares a selection from Upstate‘s literary journal, “The Healing Muse,” every Sunday on “HealthLink on Air.” Neilen is the editor of the annual publication featuring fiction, poetry, essays and visual art focused on themes of medicine, illness, disability and healing. Read The Healing Muse Cafe Blog.
Today‘s selection is "What Cracks Open" by Lisa Ashley. Order your copy of “The Healing Muse” today.
Deirdre Neilen, PhD: Lisa Ashley is a writer from Bainbridge island, Washington state. Her poem "What Cracks Open" invites us to consider what it means to open ourselves to another.
The scalpel cuts, splits open the skin,
the heart muscle first stills,
then opens to the blade.
Rock fractures when dynamite blows,
the mountain pass opens,
shards crash down.
The pointed garden spade
cracks the ice so robins,
home too soon, can drink.
The sun splinters clouds,
beams warm the surface for the buffleheads
floating there on winter mornings.
The seed wrestles against cold earth,
nanoscopic movements rupture the husk,
the tiny white shoots emerge and green up.
Tell me, do you need to crack open?
I once thought everyone would be better off
if they let their pain break them down,
if they let the pain of others
bring them to compassion.
I thought this was the way
What did I know?
In these late years, I know
what intimacy can be.
I know how the lichen need the rocks,
the trees, all the cracks in the pottery.
I see now how we run so hard
to escape the avalanche.