national anthology of the best undergraduate writing 2014

Proprioception

Frances Wang  • 
Dartmouth College

They say that dogs are soulless.

Mine sleeps on his side and skitters after rabbits;

the limbs of his own knowing stretch

and convulse, propelling him bound for bound

as he turns on the linoleum,

pinned and pivoted around his heart on the floor.

 

I, too, have chased and been chased.

I have run ragged and waked

thrashing, cold in the sudden

rediscovery of orientation

in the space you and I used to share.

We are both in love, I think,

with distance.

 

In each human there exists

a secret memory of the ocean,

fluid spirals in the chambers of the ear.

It is here I perceive our component places and angles

and the space between us,

the inclination to face each other,

give chase like some darting rabbit.

Seven hours apart,

we anchor ourselves to opposite ends of the horizon,

focusing too intently upon waking

to hear what we ask of each other.

I go unanswered for now, like a good question.


Proprioception: from Latin, proprius: one’s own. The unconscious perception of movement and spatial orientation. —American Heritage Medical Dictionary