From the Greek hypothesis — literally, “a placing under”
What if it’s true: that as you walk,
another is walking within you, perfectly
coterminous with your own walking?
What if it’s true that as you sit,
another sits within, weathering you,
like the coal inside the ember?
I don’t like to think that our bodies
are mere vessels — or vassals —
but what if they were? It could explain
these odd, apparently random urges
to hold & be held, or to lose oneself
through concentration: the not-me within
wants to reach the not-me without.
Sounds plausible, doesn’t it? Maybe
that’s how a finger continues to itch
after the amputation of the arm, & why,
as we slowly tighten around our cores,
strands of white begin to appear
on our heads, an extra light glimmers
behind the eyes, & a network of cracks
under the skin begins to offer glimpses
of an inner blue: heaven is within,
just as the mystics always said! True
or not, it’s enough to make me think
about counting every last breath.
A revision of this poem from March 2008