I tried to live small.
I took a narrow bed.
I held my elbows to my sides.
I tried to step carefully
And to think softly
And to breathe shallowly
In my portion of air
And to disturb no one.

But see how I spread out and I cannot help it.
I take to myself more and more, and I take nothing
That I do not need, but my needs grow like weeds,
All over and invading; I clutter this place
With all the apparatus of living.
You stumble over it daily.

And then my lungs take their fill.
And then you gasp for air.

Excuse me for living,
But, since I am living,
Given inches, I take yards,
Taking yards, dream of miles
And a landscape, unbounded
And vast in abandon.
And you dreaming the same.

Cries of the Spirit: A Celebration of Women's Spirituality. (1991). United States: Beacon Press.

Why I Chose This Poem

I'm not sure at a time when homelessness in my state is rising due to a lack of affordable housimg that I feel exactly the same way about this poem as I did when I first read it in the 90s in rural Oregon. But I still feel it, so very much, the sense of desire and aliveness, of expansion, of a plant's exuberant growth upon being repotted after too much time with bound roots.