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The God in Us Wishes to Live

By Celia Gilbert

Beautiful goldfish.

eyes upon wide this world, our visitor

without a claw

only a reflex,

a fist to close on a finger

that isn't there,

telling me you need Yoga

because daddy never noticed.

At ten you were a sugar freak.

At fifteen your mother starved you

because your breasts were too big.

Now you fast and love the Swami,

peck at fruits, grams,

hungry all the time.

The body hangs by its feet weightless

in the Headstand, spirals in the Twist,

opens into the Lotus, Cobra, Plough,

Locust, Bow, Bridge;

a spectacular view of the labial crest

in the shoulder stand.

Meditate on a point between the eyes,

candle flame, or rose,

to reach

the wavering self: a handful of bone,

the blind unwinking navel.

Holding the soles of the feet


a pleasurable warmth

up through the body.


Somewhere in darkened rooms women lie gnarled as roots.

The doctors whisper, "sigh, sigh",

and they sigh.

"Breath, breathe"

and they breathe. Over and over.

Needles pricking the old grooves. Scream!

Un coil. "Give it to me give it to me

give." Veins on the neck stand

thick as chains. Rings throttling fingers,

gold watches tick on swollen wrists.

The spine arches

releasing tears.

"Good," whisper the doctors, "you're

getting there."


Back to the mouthing

of the warm wet eye?

Where did they put the child

who wanted to suck her thumb

who sucked sheets and socks and humiliation when they put

the bitter alum on her fingers--

who won't suck a lollypop now?


Shattered, put together,

you are here,

standing on your head,

passed through the hands

of many men, like water,

like Rama's Sita,

proving her innocence

in the fire.

Your lungs gnaw air

you are filled, emptied, filled

and you move off

Taos, Nepal, Bay City, Windy City,

heading east by west, with the others

looking for a place.

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