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Meditations in an Emergency by Cameron Awkward-Rich


What I know about a heart breaking I learned from everything I cannot control. For example: a grasshopper on my knee poised to move towards my outstretched finger, having been beckoned to, and, having jumped, was suddenly blown away by a gust of wind, never to return. For example: putting socks on alone at night before bed, remembering my grandfather out of the blue, reading the newspaper one Sunday afternoon, the sun almost too orange to be real. For example: hearing my name tumble down someone’s mouth. Or perhaps not hearing it at all.

In a world that is so determined to kill us, how do we stay alive. In a world where I am asked to justify my body, how do I dream.

Here is how I hurt: body bent forward, fist against my chest as if I have taken out my heart. Here is how I am foolish: the more I am hurt the deeper I love. 

Meditations in an Emergency
Cameron Awkward-Rich

I wake up & it breaks my heart. I draw the blinds & the thrill of rain breaks my heart. I go outside. I ride the train, walk among the buildings, men in Monday suits. The flight of doves, the city of tents beneath the underpass, the huddled mass, old women hawking roses, & children all of them, break my heart. There’s a dream I have in which I love the world. I run from end to end like fingers through her hair. There are no borders, only wind. Like you, I was born. Like you, I was raised in the institution of dreaming. Hand on my heart. Hand on my stupid heart.

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This poem appeared in Dispatch: Poems by Cameron Awkward-Rich, published by Persea, 2019. Shared here with profound gratitude.

Read more works by Cameron Awkward-RichFind books by this poet • Or view my library 

Explore poems in pursuit of: identitygriefwounds • Or browse the index


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Meditations in an Emergency Cameron Awkward-Rich


Comments (4)

  • Briana

    This is exactly – yes. Like my heart was shaken by a blinding light and what came out feels like this.

  • <3


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