China Shop

I have always moved through this world

as if afraid to touch anything in the china shop

of life--afraid that any sudden movements might

knock something off its shelf, and then. . .

Then something might get broken and

I'd have to pay for it. My pockets are empty.

I tiptoe, hoping that by the time I safely reach

the exit, I'll have found what is meant for me.

I have learned though, what lines the shelves

is always more durable and resilient than

I first thought, which sends a tiny crack of

regret through my body.

"You mean," I say to myself, "I could have

moved more freely all along? I could have

danced and shaken the floor with both joy and

sorrow without the consequences I imagined?"

I vow to myself (now that I've seen more than

half of the entire shop) to "let everything happen

to me, beauty and terror," as Rilke wrote; to free

what my mind imagines and my body feels.

Maybe all this china and crystal lining the path

of my life will resonate and sing along with my

joy and lament, and when I finally reach the exit

the kindly shopkeeper will say (a twinkle in both eyes):

"I hope you moved around enough to loosen

all the dust in this place, or maybe even

knock something off its shelf. That's the

only way things change around here."

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