Chana Bloch

Rising to Meet It

Pain is the salty element. 

All that night I lay 
tethered to my breathing. To the pain, 
the fixed clock-stare of the walls,
the fingers  			 	
combing my tangled hair.  					 
"Ride out the waves," the doctor said. 

The first time I touched a man,
what startled me more than the pleasure 
was knowing what to do. 
I turned to him with 
a motion so firm it must have been 
forming inside me 
before I was born. 

I was swimming upstream, the body			 
solid, bucking for breath, slippery,
wet. An ocean
rolled off my shoulders. 

Tonight, strapped to the long night, I miss	 
the simple
pain of childbirth—
			        	No, not the pain  		
but that rising to meet it like a body
reaching out in desire, buoyant, athletic, 
sure of its power.