Root of Breath

Paul blindfolds himself.
He crawls on hands and knees.
He stops to feel the grass.

He continues to crawl
and feels each plant and rock
in the backyard one by one.

His fingers and hands
get to know surfaces.
His fingers wish to know centers.

He cannot know centers
without breaking stems or buds.
The loss would not be worth the gain.

Blindfolded, he is more alert
for smells he has no names for.
He smells his stained and loamy hands.

He feels with his ears
the insect wing-beats
as they fly past.

Honey bee. Carpenter bee.
Bumble bee caught
in the datura’s white trumpet flower.

He does not hear the wingbeats
of monarch butterflies
as they investigate the milkweed.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

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