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"Report from Wyoming: Midstream" by Kelly Madigan Erlandson 

Kelly's manuscript, Born in the House of Love, won the Main-Traveled Roads Chapbook Award in 2004.  She lives in Nebraska.


© 2004 Kelly Madigan Erlandson


Yesterday I gathered my quilts and took them to the long grass at the edge of the stream, settled in under a small willow in the sun, and slept. Today, I took my chair to the water, carried it out into the flow, and sat with my two feet in the current, a book of poems in my hands. Let me tell you about the temperature of the water: think mountain, think startle, think ache that wicks up the tibia and fibula towards the bent knees. But I am listening to the monologue of my body here, and my feet asked to be washed in this rush, to press their undersides to the strength of stones in the streambed.


It is an exercise in awareness, a slow count as I try to leave them in the freeze longer and longer still. If you do this, you may not believe you can stand it, the wringing intensity, but if you will let the water have its way with your standing bones, the pain will dissipate. In its wake it leaves a bright joy, a happiness unique to toes and arches of the foot. As the blood charges to warm them, the cells open to this unexpected influx, and a clean exchange takes place. There are some old complaints that are chased off this way, grudges against shoes of poor shape, resentment about being furthest from the beating supply chambers, old stigmas about worthiness. How else would you turn the body's full attention to her servants?











All work is copyrighted property of Kelly Madigan Erlandson.

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