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  • Sharon Uy

#9. Shedding


Welcome to issue #9 of my letters!

It is, I hear, a new year, though, as of this writing, I haven't stepped foot (or hand, or mouth) outside since the last. Tomorrow will be my day. Instead, I have begun my slow and not-so-triumphant return from the brink of death, which is, in my humble opinion, not at all a dramatic characterization of having contracted hand, food, and mouth disease. I did have my moments. But the brink of death and the shedding of blighted skin yield lessons. It's a good thing I'm a sucker for learning.

In this new year, may you all enjoy good health and this poem of sorts.

As always, thank you for reading! <3


--


i wonder if this is what it's like to be a snake--

if as it begins to shed says to itself, "that was not my favorite year."

if it looks upon itself with both worry and wonder and remembers the dream it had six months ago of blue and green and glistening snakes emerging from its chin into a slithering pile in the bathroom sink and how that dream must mean that change was on its way,

that change is here.

i wonder if it asked the universe for a break and got one,

just not the kind it was hoping for,

not even close.

if it doesn't mind that it was forced to rest a while.

if it feels great pain before its skin sloughs off, and finds it difficult to sleep.

i wonder if a snake can differentiate the numb and hardened and deadened skin that is no longer its own but remains attached in this place and that, from the tender and pink rawness underneath.

if it marvels that new skin must learn to feel again, as though every texture is an undiscovered land, and every ridge of every fingerprint its own explorer.

if it wonders whether everything will feel rough forever.

i wonder if a snake listens to its body

or waits until it's consumed by illness to finally heed its messages.

if it knows that healing is rest and rest is healing or that maybe it's all just a different form of work.

i wonder if a snake ever misses its old skin,

and wants to keep some of it close by.

if it can't yet and may never differentiate artifact from attachment.

if it dips its hands in olive oil and wraps them in warm towels.

if it sits on the bathroom floor with a pair of nail clippers

not knowing if it's helping or hurting the natural flow of things.

i wonder if the snake knows it's being reborn as it's happening.

if it takes a moment, for meditation, manifestation, mantra.

if it mourns the loss of what was never its own

in the space between here and there.

i wonder if it cries as it all falls away.

if it prepares itself in any way

or if it takes life as it comes

takes death as it comes

takes rebirth as it is.

if it trusts it will find its way to remembering what softness is.

i wonder if this is what it's like to be a snake--

if, as it sheds says to itself, "there's always this year."

Until next time-

<3 SBU

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