Learning to Stay

When breathing is too much
eating is out of the question and the weight of this body,
bone-on-bone stacked to stand tall, feels suspended in air, head flopping:
gravity is no friend to the top heavy.

Move your body, get the blood flowing in opposite directions, breathe deep into your belly
but what if there is no space there?

Searching for a something that your mind forced you to forget, looking for the key to a door that you hid for safe keeping

Trying to exist in the moment is a practice of rememebering and letting that memory go while holding space for everything and nothing all at once.
My thoughts have no-body to rest in most of the time because this one is scary or too much.

Sometimes breathing consciously is like air on skin that wasn’t ready yet, I reach for the nearest thing to apply pressure and protection
to make a covering for the rawness of Right Now.

© A. DePriest


Meet Yourself

Bent at the waist to alleviate the pressure
I see my feet,
black boots laced to the top

what a wonder they are against the old brick floor
flanked by subway tile.
My feet, my very own: Thank You.

I stop to run my fingers over the worn leather,
breathing gratitude.

© A. DePriest

Morning Music

The wind chimes speak the language
of a silent, frozen landscape

lending a tinny softness to the brittle limbs,
weighty and tired.

We thought winter had forgotten us
this year,

the geese never left the ponds;

nestling comfortably into human-made
wood-sided houses instead,

taking swims at dusk alongside
the Great Heron

who dreams of January in a longing
for isolation,

the way we dream our own stolen moments
of stillness

amidst the cries of hungry babes;

mornings overcrowded by footed pajamas
and burnt potatoes,

piling ourselves into tiny houses,
bracing for the winter of our year.

© A. DePriest

gauche lyfe

When I’m alone I eat cereal for lunch
and dinner if there’s some left
using the leftover grounds in the pour-over
I drink coffee all day
pouring over and over and over

I open the doors and windows
feel the AC work in overtime
without getting up to help

Instead of showering I sit in piles of New Yorker back issues
awash in pictures and poetry
(almost always by men)
a metaphorical bathing in masculine thought
now that’s a new concept (it’s raining men?)

This morning I slugged a cup of coffee
before barely dragging my kid to school
still in yesterday’s mascara

and as I realized after a quick mirror-check in the rear-view
last night’s Nero d’Avola gracing my blistered lip.

in memoriam

There was a time when you fit nicely in the compartment i built for you

or perhaps it’s an injustice to reality to take credit for that space you created for yourself

i exist in the equation only to open or close the once revolving door that long ago stopped moving

filing you away with all the other Lost Causes makes life more orderly

and i like that.


“Through the fence, between curling flower spaces, I could see them hitting”


“The broken flower drooped over Ben’s fist and his eyes were empty and blue and serene again as cornice and façade flowed smoothly once more from left to right; post and tree, window and doorway, and signboard, each in its ordered place.”


the first and last sentences of The Sound and The Fury, respectively.

I love seeing them side by side: a dizzying, sweeping circle of a book as only Faulkner could write. This repetitive language of space, place, and the way we move through them both physically and metaphorically ees delicious.

moving forward while standing still

How important is it to nudge the process
like bottle feeding pigs or
force-feeding ducks to the point of implosion
for the most flavorful, lusty bits
of meat

but also life and its unfolding
the wait is strange:
creating a void
to be filled with action
to aid in the precarious unfolding
of ambition

like vegan grilled cheese: am i trying too hard?
perhaps the natural is better left that way.
The trees go on despite the fence rows
unquestioning, resolved to root down, flourishing
through awkward placement
gracefully extending crooked arms to reach for the sun
however it chooses to fall
digging deep for water, cultivating a life.