When someone deeply listens to me
I can feel my words landing on their flesh,
finding ways to settle in, sink beneath the surface.
There is no immediate response.
My movements– nervously picking at tiny hairs embedded within my sweater…
Anxiously waving my hand back and forth in the air as if physically shifting something out of me, away from me, and still further into me at the same time.
I can feel myself reflected in the flickering of their eyes, so delicately dancing in tandem with me.
I do not worry about their perception.
Whether I might appear erratic, inappropriate, needy, or whatever other adjective one might prescribe from the societal laundry list for such deep emotional expression.
When someone is deeply listening to me, I feel the room breathe itself big enough to embrace all the unapologetically wild and wanting ness that makes all of me, me.
I feel myself sing– heart, body, mind embraced, validated, defended even against anything that might make it feel less than worthy for being exactly what it is.
*This poem is available in my book Soft With Me, printed and bound in Western North Carolina thanks to a grant from the N.C. Arts Council.