In the Breaking by Rebecca Doverspike

In the Breaking

A woman with shears contemplates the next cut.
Somewhere a satellite is recording
all of this—time and the time-keeper, bells
like a mouth, the darkening dusk inside.

Perhaps in old age we are like leaves, holes
bitten through by small hungers: watch it go
the tender-hearted afternoon I want
to hold onto. Now it is freezing rain.

Now it is memory. The buds begin
for so long I forget they are flowers
waiting to go home and please stop with the
cleverness: set down all the swords, our faces

do not look anything like we thought
they would. The startling beauty of any
voice, like the woman screaming in the hall:
Why won’t they let me go home. So I sit.

This is your home, I want to say. This hospital
hallway is your desert. People walk through.
They’re re-telling stories of exodus. This
is your sacred pilgrimage—

each you the only you of its kind— here—
where the clocks work differently, where people see right through.
Each one unveiling its mystery,

and no one turns to look. Saying goodbye,
a patient, a painter, a woman says: I was going
to get you flowers but they die. She hands me a card
in permanent marker, the scent still wet.


Rebecca Doverspike works as an Interfaith Chaplain in Boston, drawing from Zen Buddhist practice. She holds an MDiv from Harvard Divinity School, an MFA from West Virginia University, and BA from Beloit College. Her chapbook, Every Present Thing a Ghost, was published by Slapering Hol Press in 2019. Other works can be found in: Peripheries, Midwest Review, Valley Voices, 5×5 Literary Magazine, Tupelo Quarterly, Diagram, Ruminate, and others. She loves hiking with her partner and dog.

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