Letter to Attention

This entry is part 28 of 93 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Summer 2011


Dear restless, wandering mind, sometimes
you really must try to chisel your focus—

Try to listen to the soft-spoken woman
who leads us through downward-facing dogs,

warrior poses and planks, steeple
mudras, salutations, lunges—

instead of to the growing industrial whine
of your belly, where no other breakfast

but the half-cup of soy latte now sloshes
around, a whirlpool of acids and worry. Keep

count of the breaths as they come through
the branches in the upside-down trees

of your lungs. Keep count as they exit:
the thing to do is turn them into things

with wings— cicadas, perhaps. Or tiny
fireflies throwing their low-wattage beams

at the dark. Effortless effort, the teacher
intones. So don’t let the ten year old’s

giggling distract you as you try and fail
to maintain your balance, coming out

of the dancer’s pose. Are you still with me?
I know you’re tired, and you want to press

your cheek on the mat or stay supine as a corpse.
But the voice nudges you back to the shore, saying

Open your arms and legs like a starfish, open
the cage of your heart; look at the unblinking sun


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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3 Replies to “Letter to Attention”

  1. Hi mom! You were writing about the yoga class weren’t you? You even put the part where I laughed at you in it! Awesome! I love you!

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