Autonomy, a Prayer / Bob Ambrose


To be free from tubes
and holding tight with taut
skin stretching staple-free, my
belly humming blissfully beneath
the bandaged five-part scar;
to sneeze and laugh and like
the twinge; to feel akin to fountain
boy still en pissant in Brussels square;
my body, unattached and free –
in freedom, sweet autonomy.

To step outside to open sky
and feel the sun inspiring
sweat; to swerve and crunch
September leaves, and smell
the summer stored inside;
to stand in shade air-cooled
by breeze; to harbor strength
to stride with ease to where
I will – where will is strong
to will belongs autonomy.

To pay due heed is prayer indeed,
or prayer enough for one set free
from climate-cooled sterility
from pumps, procedures, hardened
tools, precision cuts that take out
lumps and treasures of vitality
in trade for time and open space
inside my body, in my life to fill
with what – that choice is mine,
and choice defines autonomy.

To walk away from death each day
each step a prayer and prayer’s reply,
each dawning light, a night behind,
a morning more to hear the score
of tiny tongues in praise of life, those
chittering skittering prayers quick
told by insects, birds and hurried
souls just growing old too busy
for reflective ways – but deepened
thought is root of our autonomy.

To be granted time to redefine
one’s way within the sacred web
of all that is, receiving life more
graciously and giving back
with equal ease, enraptured
in the dance of grace transforming
old conflicted ways; a daily task,
to drop what chains you to the past
and reattach to what will last –
in life of love, autonomy.

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