Last fall, shortly after I returned to Chicago with a shredded heart, my dear poet friend sent me the first stanza of Belly Song (below) by Etheridge Knight. POW!
It hit me in that place that shoots out little pieces of glitter inside when you collide with something undeniably real. In a few short lines, Knight articulates what I hope to be able to articulate in my lifetime: the truth that we will all be nearly swallowed by the sea at least once. I think I’ve brushed against its sandy bottom at least four times. And the question, each time we come eyeball to exoskeleton with sand dollars and crabs, is–should I stop swimming altogether or shall I become be a wiser, stronger swimmer?
I think a lot of people decide to stop swimming. Just stay on the edge and call it good for the day, week, lifetime.
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