Trying to Tell Us

Mar 20, 2020


Today’s poem is "Trying To Tell Us" by Deborah Cummins.  She’s the author of two poetry collections and a collection of essays that was a finalist for the 2013 Maine Book Award in Non-Fiction. Her poems and essays have been featured in nine anthologies and numerous journals and magazines.

She writes, “I’m now at a point in my life that forces me to recognize some of the physical limitations that naturally come with age. But rather than focus on diminishment and what’s been lost, I wanted to write a poem that in some way embraced all of what is still possible. Rather than a lament, I found myself writing what I think of as a love poem to my husband.”

Trying to Tell Us
ending with a line by Susan Ludvigson
by Deborah Cummins

Little by little, my love, the signs accrue. 
Our muscles forget their grace
in the easiest maneuver. 

We swim half as far out 
as strength once enabled. 
More breathlessness now climbing Russ’s Hill.

For those of us discovering late
who and what we love, there is no reprieve
from how the body betrays us. 

Or how the mind comprehends
that it all begins with the body – hands, eyes, belly,   
lips that kiss, tongue that tells. 

Already, somewhere, paths seem mapped for us. 
But isn’t the going fragrant, sweet? 
Unaware of age, our blood still hums. 

Remember, love, how once we stayed 
out in the cold, skating the slick frozen river
until frostbite numbed our fingers and toes?

And after, the red ache of warming,
our bodies telling us 
we’re dying, we’re still alive.

Poem copyright ©2019 Deborah Cummins.