The Clerestory Podcast S1 E25

The Oklahoma Tenant Farmer and Me
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Finding the Y at the End of Anxiety in a Studio Apartment

At night, the walkway by my window was lit by orange lights.
I had hung a fitted sheet over my useless blinds
but the light still trickled inside, glowing around the perimeter
of the wrinkled sheet and filtering through its thinness
in horizontal streaks. 

Under the window, the air conditioning/heating unit hummed
and clicked in the language of large appliances.
In my twin sized bed, in nothing but boxers
and a gleam of fresh sweat, I lie awake.
staring at ceiling shadows, 
counting the seconds of inhales and exhales,
forearms resting on my torso,
one crossing my abdomen, 
the other holding my chest,
my body taking the shape of a Y.

Try to focus on the numbers,
on the rise of my stomach,
on the filling of my lungs,
on the language of large appliances.
Not guilt.
Not regret.
Not the past or future, but
the present
where air is evidence of grace and
motion is proof of forgiveness.

Translate a hum of assurance.
It will be many minutes full of hours, though,
before I feel peace, and
a word will be spoken,
an offering made,
a blessing felt,
a charge taken
into sleep.

Walter Canter is the pastor of Blue Ridge Presbyterian Church located in the ridge’s foothills where it is absolutely beautiful 3.5 out of 4 seasons. His writings pop up here and there, but consistently they appear in his Substack newsletter, Walter Writes Words.

Discover more from Walter Canter.