Everything You Hold Onto in Your Body Lets Go

By Billie Hinton

May 9, 2022

Everything You Hold Onto in Your Body Lets Go

In autumn, my massage therapist comes to the barn, plugs in her electric pot to warm the large black stones she regularly returns to the river, whose current removes things bodies hold onto: the ache of arthritic knees, tight pelvises, a woman’s chorus of sharp edges, shrill songs of sore muscles and little heartaches.

She begins with Salina, the one-eyed mare, whose eyelid around the missing eye still blinks when anyone comes near. Salina closes her good eye, softens beneath H’s hands, listens with one ear forward and one back to the donkeys in the pasture playing. By the end her knees are near to buckling as she walks to her stall. She lowers her head and sleeps.

Keil Bay bobs his head as H reaches his tight places, pushes his tight left pelvic joint into her fingers, into the warm stones, eyes and lower lip drooping as he too feels the swim of chemicals in his brain. He goes in the stall across from Salina.

H sets up her massage table in the barn aisle, between the two sleeping horses. Afternoon turns to evening. The air chills as I slide between the sheets and shiver, craving a silent body. The hot stones’ warmth, the buckling of limbs, my own slow swim into endorphins. Soft snorts the only sounds as horses hang heads over doors. Communion.

Stones glide along oiled skin, erasing. The chorus falls away.


It is as quiet as an empty church and just as holy.


Billie Hinton lives on a small farm named November Hill, where she keeps ponies, bees, native plants, and words. She’s a mom, a grandma, and lives with cats, Corgis, husband, daughter, and a golden retriever who believes in love. 


Image by Tatiana courtesy of Pexels

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