Fourth Sense

I stop for several moments,
permit my spine to straighten
against the inch of foam

that tops the hardwood board
I have upon my bed in lieu
of mattress. (My husband does

not like unyielding, he calls it
the torture rack and instead
submerges nightly in a pillow-

top’s embrace.) But it is
here I reconnect with my own
surface, the meter and a half

of uncured leather I wear
daily. I close my eyes and in
the blindness stay completely

still, try to find each hinge
by focusing attention where
I think it is, sonar-pings

sent into darkness, waiting
for an answering ache or itch
or tickle. Then I move along,

still sounding in the dark,
seek out and find an ankle,
an elbow, a hip. I scan and

map these surfaces I have
ignored all day, volume on
the touch-sense turned down

low. I let attention brush
each joint for just a moment,
give each one a quick

permission to emerge from
the repression, then move on,
hold fast upon the rack:

while joy—like the rush
of an incoming wave—
kisses all my skin.

In response to/inspired by Luisa A. Igloria’s “A dress:“, ending with lines from Robert K. Johnson’s “Eighty-five.”


  1. Laura this is lovely–the journey of attention, mindfulness, leading to that sudden rush of joy–a place comfort cannot take us to, the inverse of sensory denial–wonderfully said!


  2. I felt (the) pain in this; I felt it all through. Don’t know if I was meant to, because I didn’t see comfort or joy like Mary, in the above comment, did . But what a profound poem this is!


  3. You could have been leading our meditation last night with these words. Absolutely beautiful, and so mindful … and re-mindful, too.


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