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Image Swimming: Day 7 of 60

Image Swimming is a term I invented for a series of literary meditations inspired by visual work — in this case, the work of Deborah Koff Chapin, creator of Soulcards. I’m using the cards from Deck 2. Please visit for more on this transformative process.

Image used with permission from Deborah Koff Chapin

A full-grown bird is making her way up through me and into everything. She started as the squiggle in my bellybutton, drawn by a drunk fairy with a pen that only writes on Tuesdays and only for a couple minutes. She gelled up, her tiny bones got real, her body made white and light and then there were feathers and then she was a Bird.

I didn’t listen to her for a long time. She squawked, I felt her flutter. Felt disturbances in my chest. The nausea, the pain. I didn’t know it was

just me

wanting to sing, to be set free, to fly.

But now I do, and I’m a little worried.

‘Cause there is this full-grown, big-assed bird making her way up through me and I’m not the boss of her, and I don’t know what she wants much less how to make her happy.

I can only give her access to my throat and my feet and my bowels and my eyes and my own longing and the years I’ve spent running from her trying to find her.

She’s a full-grown bird now making her way up through me and because I’m listening finally she is rising

and I bet you have one rising, too and I bet you and I are not the only ones.

There are full-grown birds all over the place rising in us. Give them access. Set them free.

Let them wing their way through this glorious catastrophe

and sing.


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