Recovering by Lena Moses-Schmitt

What happens when you get your life back?
This is the opposite of the question that possessed me
for many long nights, which was “what if.”
Logic opened up so wide
the hole became a lack of choices.
And choiceless, my imagination died.
Killed & numbed, it would speak to me in the dark
from the great beyond. On the radio,
the plant ecologist asks, does the earth love you back?
I thought about that for a long time, walking around,
the trees looking down at me, me stepping over the brown grass.
A note I just found, written from myself to myself four months ago:
“You must not look inward today.”
I was talking to that hole.
How could the earth love me?
I am a human. I get all my food from Safeway
in brightly colored boxes, printed with lists of chemicals
and I drive all over the false ground
with my car, my body a spigot of gasoline.
I never thought to animate the earth with love.
The idea opens up a new little hole, a tiny star.
The way I have lived my life from very far away.
Even my friends didn’t believe me when I said I was lonely.
What happens when you get your life back
after you thought it was over? Possibility returns
slow, like blood, and now I’ve started to feel it all. It hurts.
And it sings. I stood in the golden light of my neighbor’s yard
as one by one she picked me fruit from her tree
  & slid them into a translucent newspaper sleeve.
I have headlines full of green apples,
some good news. Later on, I’d slice them open
and, not even thinking about it, throw away the seeds.


Lena Moses-Schmitt‘s work appears in Best New Poets, The Believer, Indiana Review, The Rumpus, Cincinnati Review, Ninth Letter,, and elsewhere. She lives in Berkeley, California.