by Beth Copeland

Lying on the yoga mat in corpse pose,
I want to levitate above all suffering,
to return to a summer long ago when
I lay flat on my back in a turquoise pool
with eyes closed. The swim instructor
said, I’m letting go but you won’t sink.
When I opened my eyes, white clouds
billowed like the bleached sheets Mother
hung on the line to dry above fresh-mown
grass and clover or like a flock of sheep
grazing on a muscari-blue pasture of sky.

Lately, I don’t know if there’s any hope left,
if there’s a lifeline reeling us back to shore
or only a frayed rope pulling us farther out
to sea. But as I deeply breathe, I become
a child again, eyes open to heaven, held
on the water’s shimmering surface, adrift
in that moment of wonder when we know
nothing is holding us up and we float.

“Shavasana” was previously published in Blue Mountain Review, June 2021.

ART: Public Pool for Daytime Swimming by Joyce Kozloff (1984).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote this poem during the early months of the pandemic. I was doing yoga at home, focusing on deep breathing to calm my mind and body. It reminded me of learning to float when I was a child. I remembered looking up at the sky as I floated on my back, a pleasant, calming memory.

Beth Copeland

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Beth Copeland is the author of Blue Honey, 2017 Dogfish Head Poetry Prize winner; Transcendental Telemarketer (BlazeVOX, 2012); and Traveling through Glass, 1999 Bright Hill Press Poetry Book Award winner. Her chapbook Selfie with Cherry is forthcoming from Glass Lyre Press. She owns Tiny Cabin, Big Ideas™ —a retreat for writers in the Blue Ridge Mountains.