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Reading “What You Are Doing Is Living” by M. Soledad Caballero


Poetry Lunch S5E1

Reading “What You Are Doing Is Living” by M. Soledad Caballero from I Was a Bell, Red Hen Press.


Hello and welcome back to Poetry Lunch, the informal reading series whereby I (Myrna, artist and owner of Expedition Press) choose a poem day of and read it to you and say whatever I’m thinking and feeling in the moment.

This poem, this moment, lands me in my body very literally. It weaves the natural world into the unnatural world of medical exams, diagnoses, treatment. Mush of dead crabs on the beach, wrong cells replicating. In the middle is the body, our bodies, our sacks of flesh and bones and wildest feelings and dreams. Home to all of us. All of us a home. We can’t escape our bodies no matter how slow or fast we live in them. I take mine for granted most days and when it suddenly says it needs something I’m annoyed at best and mad at worst.

These days I am hungry too often and still losing weight. There’s a weird lightness inside of me that feels like a rush of wind could go through any moment. I was told last week no problem we can just cut open your neck and remove half your thyroid and that’ll probably solve it. But might damage your vocal chords. Yeah get a second opinion great it’ll only be a three month wait.

Ah decisions. Ah western medicine with all its perfectly siloed parts. Poetry brings me whole again every time and I’m grateful to this poem in particular for the way it moves from deep to light. And the way it stays soft yet specific. I love the question about looking for marrow that has no question mark. Such a perfect summation of all the asking I want to do that I feel I’m not supposed to.

And last, and first, I love the last line of this poem:

“you forget what you are doing is living.”

I do! I do forget. And more than anything I want to remember each moment I’m alive that I am, indeed, living.


Related print

Links to purchase
Get the book: I Was a Bell and the print: What You Are Doing.