By Stephanie White

I'd say I've found my footing

But I don’t, have footing, that is,
with this sadness that staggers
me each time I hear of another heart
begun beating in a friend’s belly
while I have nothing but this aching,
and I’m caught up —

the same net of coursework and research
and questions about when assignments are due,
and the fear I’ll never publish, and the fear
I’ll perish by my own hand,
because I’ll have grown sick
of waiting. I’m waiting now,
for this tightening at my neckline
to release, for my usual footing
to return. So I’ll write, and put off work,
and knit for my friends’ babies,
and sip this coffee and go out for drinks,
because I still can. And later

I’ll laugh at this time,
and think it so short, so small,
beside the power of — oh.

I wanted to say of your cry. But
if there’s a you, then I am without it,
and the tightening returns. There is no you,
yet. Only me waiting. And so
back to work.

 

Photo credit: Wendi Dunlap

About the Author

Stephanie White is a member of the English Language and Literature faculty at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario. She teaches writing and rhetoric while researching composition pedagogy and service-learning. She and her husband Andrew have a darling baby girl and very helpful neighbours.

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