I learned from Kim, 40, whose car flipped
five times before her back broke
the day after she turned twenty.

Two decades have flown by
and she still remembers the clock — 3:45
on a fall afternoon – and I wonder if now
she prefers twilight, what kind of life
her companion led to have fallen
asleep in motion, how she holds
herself in chair pose, infinitely.

When she smiles, I decide I would like
built-in speed sensors, planted
just above the mount of Venus
letting me see when I let
the present runs away
in my palm.

How else could I be forced
into automatic breaks
but integrated bearings?

Like Kim, my movement is severely
confined to a rotational force
on a circular plane. But here she is,
coolly circumnavigating the metro
with three teens, when 19 elevators
are down, and all five lines are being single-
tracked for at least two stops, somewhere
in this system that lies largely underground.

Three days before, to visually remind myself
to take it slow, I snuck in a quick trip
to a pet store, pictured myself
on a hamster wheel. I printed online images
of adrenal glands for cooling meditations,
gazed at shifting cloud formations
between yoga poses.

At 17, I thought if I could draw in
enough smoke, I wouldn’t disappear
in the frenetic back beats. I suppose
I wanted to become the deep base
looping over and over again.

How do you interpret that I felt most alive
this week leaning back in a dental chair,
my jaw pried open for 120 minutes –
only five of them unbearable –
the rest possible thanks to a river and a raft
and rapids that turned into a calm wide
neck I found myself dreaming up while
physically contained?

Say what you will about strangers
spilling stories between stations.
Or see it a sign, of how to circle
around the truth of being trapped
and having all the space you’ll ever need.