Vertigo Fear Shadows
At the edge of a shadow cast by the neighbor's oak,
sun shines on my face, a breeze rustles my hair
and the shadow of the oak shifts and wriggles, restless
and hungry, withdrawing and then approaching
my bare toes, over and over while the whole dancing
shadow with it's patches of sun slides slowly closer.
Shadows of leaves, shadows of branches, shadows
of baby acorns nestled among the leaves. Shadows
of robins passing each other with worms and insects,
shadows of their babies opening wide their mouths.
Such a chorus of pleading. Wingbeats, then stillness.
A touch of cold startles me. I look down to see darkness
on my hands, isolated and with no visible source
from the tree. The deep, cloudless sky throws no shadows,
but the shadow on my wrist expands toward my heart.
Compelled to drink from that well of night, I bend toward
my hands. A black wave engulfs me. The earth tilts, the sky
spins and the tree lurches. I smell bruised grass, damp soil.
Feel tiny pebbles mashed into my cheek. Taste salt and iron.
Sweating and cold, I watch the jonquils and tulips leap jaggedly
in the garden. Jump and twist spasmodically. On my knees,
my body curls in Bala-asana, the child pose, and I close
my eyes to still the jumping. The darkness
behind my eyes turns and jerks raggedly. I breathe
slowly. Feel a passing chill, another shadow.
I open my eyes to see a vulture circling, its shadow
passing over me again and again.
Mary Stebbins Taitt
NOTE: This did NOT happen as written, but is a combination of the earlier experience of vertigo with the later experience of the shifting shadows and the mysterious one on my hand.