December 8, 2016

On Gratitude (and the Cultured River Horse)

Yesterday a man told me that anxiety
and depression atrophy the brain’s
hippocampus, and now I wonder if
hippocampus could refer to those
higher learning institutions which service
the well-adjusted hippopotamus.
In any case: the surest words to
re-inflate these shriveled ridges,
the man said, are words of thanksgiving.

Today I feel gratitude coursing upward
from my tongue to brim in these
deadened fibers once more. When I
smile at someone and they smile back,
they have expanded my mind. I assemble
my smiles from threadbare fossils of
laughter, but there is some truth in the
corners of my mouth, and it is enough
to dislodge me from the world briefly.

I am not better but I am no worse, and today
I said my thanks for the trombone choir and
fruit leather and even the alarm clock.
The winter has tilted the sun low enough
to brisken these days, and I am fortunate
to have the instantaneity of walking into a
warm building infused with Christmas
lights, for it froths up inside me like the
first swallow of brandy, and my mind grows.