My Practice

posted Sep 15, 2015

On a scale of one to ten, rate the intensity
of contempt you feel standing before a mirror.

Rate the sharpness on each side
of the double edge of your waking

When someone tells me the pain is unbearable
I assure them

The barometer plummeted. The river has swollen over its banks.
If you lay your head in the lap of tomorrow
you will feel it ebb

I can see how everything shifts
from geological proportions
back to meteorological ones.

This is only rain, I tell them. Only rain.

It is hard to know at times who is the guide.

Sometimes you have to discard language.
Listen with your lungs, your teeth,
the large bones of your legs.

I hold our conversations in the cupped hands
of a rabbinical kindness.
I don't say we are praying.

Alison Prine's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Virginia Quarterly Review, Shenandoah, Harvard Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, and Prairie Schooner among others. Her first collection of poems was chosen for this year's Cider Press Review Book Award and will be published in January 2016.

She lives in Burlington, Vermont where she works as a psychotherapist.

Prine’s poem “Love Poem #7” also appears in this issue.