While I Stride

by Megan Grumbling

     O me, while I stride ahead, material, visible,
          imperious as ever! . . .
     O to disengage myself from these corpses of me,
          which I turn and look at, where I cast them!
                                                    Walt Whitman

My ghostlings snag unseen over the blue
braid coils, red Asian wool, cream cotton loops

I tread in thoughtless onward.  They detach
by filaments and settle, graze and catch

at ankles, steal fleet instants of my step
clear out of time: In string tripped Muybridge split

seconds, they mark my movements between ice
and gin, drip rack and cupboard, candlelight

and sheets, are offerings of whispered least
resistance to this gliding, facile grace

of forth.  I go horizon wild, headstrong,
my grown sun burnished histories so long

so full.  But seen alone, each strand is scarce
matter enough for hue, honey and ash,

chestnut and silver though I’ve known them, gnarl
and plait, as if myself, and yet let fall

untended.  Only as they break my stride
do I discover what I’ve shed, find time

to kneel, whisk hand through seeming empty space,
sheer circles, and collect myself, a skein.