Stability Through Motion

Lauren Reagan, Stephen F. Austin State University

The waterbed in my parents’ room
is the most stable thing I know—

every movement sends waves across the gray
surface, an action spurring an equal reaction

like Newton’s laws and the way
my mother’s eyes send back

answers in ripples, messages in bottles,
love letters in response to the secrets I spill.

Physical therapists find stability through motion
and patience; she puts on scrubs each morning

to help patients learn how to use their bodies
again, to understand the muscles and bones

holding them together. In the evenings, I, too,
earn stability through motion: we rock and talk

and it’s always been this way;
everyone tells me I look like my mother.

I got her blue eyes and the dark circles
under them, but also the chasing of light:

I hand her my brokenness, and she answers
God, cry for my brother

and she says progress, tell her about picking up
my drunk best friend at five

in the morning, helping her up the stairs and tucking
her into bed, how caterpillars work and work

to earn their wings and die, on average, two weeks later.
She offers carpals and metacarpals, though her specialty

is in shoulders and legs;
she only studied a human heart in a jar for eight weeks

in college,
but she knows it well.

I don’t understand the chemical imbalance in my brother’s brain
or how skin holds us together like fabric, how the waterbed

never popped when I fell onto it over and over.
When I see only shadows, she guides me toward light,

When I whisper Moth,
she says Butterfly.

Lauren Reagan is an undergraduate at Stephen F. Austin State University. She is from McKinney, Texas and is currently residing in small-town Nacogdoches, pursuing a degree in Creative Writing with a minor in literature.