Meditation Before Confronting the Difficult Coworker

I have a new box I keep my heart in. It’s a cube made of pewter, with rounded corners and a lid that fits on with a barely visible seam. It’s lined with fabrics, a different one on each side: corduroy, satin, linen, velvet, denim. All red, all soft and safe for an organ that is part fish, part dinner roll, part flower, part drum. My heart and all its names are safe in the box, black-red and breathing.

And my body—the rest of my body, minus heart—is made only of all the things we know bodies are made of. My hollow skin is only made of cells. I can see each cell’s solid nucleus, and emotion does not blow between these hard centers like air between trees. Between them is only the bland solidity of cytoplasm and the tough give of cell walls. Carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen. My body is made only of these. My brain contains only these things, these parts lined up to make the glass spindles of logical thoughts. Hear them chime against each other. Hear my voice, every bit as clear.


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