Our Time Here is Borrowed

A poem on the liminal space linking life and death, breath and next breath — and the infinite imprints and revelations in between.

Deborah McNamara
Loose Words

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(Image: Kin Kate on Pixabay)

Remember:
the sight of a firstborn child,
the way the body glows blue
then pink
as blood begins its circular journey
outside the womb.

There is a constellation here
forming over time
reflected on each fold
of skin —
the shape of birth
marks
or eventually sun
spots formed over a lifespan
which also imprints
into blue-grey complexion
in the moment before death.

There is a long arc
of this life
and past ones
unfurled into the moment
when time slows down
along with a beating heart.
The guardian angels drop
from pockets here,
hovering silent and still
just like a cold mid-winter night
icy breath on air
a pause
between living and dying
where the portal thins
and flash of eye
contains a thousand memories.

We hold on here —
rubbing gently
even though survival
will come
or go
regardless of the touch.

But the breath:
(what a gift)
still
moving
slow and steady
reminder of what stays
present
here
a smooth line of consciousness
a full inhale
presiding over each moment
not discriminating
between sentience or departure
instead suspending
in a pause
between the in and out,
gateway between worlds
to glimpse if you are blessed.

Our time here is borrowed,
wearing it like a cloak
the invitation is to oversee
each sensation
as infinite blessing
of dancing molecules
and cellular light play
over and in the blue-black
curve of space
which is also mind
greeting each millisecond
even when the heart
suspends into final silence.

What happens now?

Love lands
just as pain sharpens
a flash of remembrance
from the last
existence
and the last
and the one before.

You too have been here previously:
the liminal space
between here and there
life and death
breath
and next breath
the moment between each
containing infinite encounters
each one a revelation unto itself.

Time and space are less relevant
here
just the present
feeling
this exhale
this touch
this glance.

Each of us is on this journey
across the world:
called back
home to self
curled into fetal position
like luxuriating black cat
resting,
completing a semi-circle
crescent moon
amidst star patterns
of a life well-lived.

*This poem is dedicated to my brother Robert Lundin Daishin McNamara who survived a massive heart attack in November, 2023 — and to my friend Brett Fleishman who checked on him in time to save his life.

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Deborah McNamara
Loose Words

Sustainability & Climate Activist. Yoga Teacher. Author, Invitation of Motherhood: Uncovering the Spiritual Lessons of Parenting. More: www.debmcnamara.com