Fragility, by Beth Paulson

by Beth Paulson

easily broken
a white porcelain cup
so thin light comes through;

easily damaged or destroyed
as pages of a rare or very old book;

delicate, light as a newborn’s
fingernails, frail skin,
lined and veined, the bones
of an old woman’s hand.

She had a fragile beauty.

This body/ I risk to carry/
I think of as strong/is fragile./
To be human/is to fall down
occasionally/to break down finally.

Author’s Comment: In this poem I reflect on the tenuousness of the physical body both in the sense of accidents that can befall us and in situations in which we take physical risks. I love to climb mountains and ski and I have put myself in a few dangerous spots, but somehow managed to get out of them. There are also times we can feel emotionally fragile. As I watch my elderly mother age, I see her skin and bones become fragile, her hold onto life become lighter.

Bio: Beth Paulson’s poems have appeared widely in small magazines and anthologies. She has received three Pushcart Prize nominations, including one in 2010. Her newest collection, Wild Raspberries, was published by Plain View Press in 2009. Beth lives on Colorado’s Western Slope where she teaches writing workshops and climbs mountains

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