I held out that book
the crisp jacket red from my marked fingers.
and my body knew that shame.
Long before I bled on the loveseat at that dinner party,
the darkness reminding us all where we come from,
where we are headed.
Why then, didn’t anyone want to look?
To have blood steadily drip from my body,
honey spun from the delicate walls of a hive,
is to forget barriers. Surrender.
I mix with the universe.
These cells are not my own.
pregnant with possibility,
flows out in all directions.
To find one’s purpose
is to see the path of the raindrop on the car window:
Some men believe nature to be an evil temptress,
her sickly sweet blossoms felled by her raging storms.
I don't know any women who entertain this comparison.
We know what it is to be the tree and the fire in the same breath.
In the quiet moments
when I let the taught rope
of my mind go slack,
I begin to hear the grumble
of the bugs chewing
at the upright planks,
and the flies looping
past my ears,
droning their terrible mutterings
to the world.
Chickens scratch at rocky earth
and lizards drip
down stone walls.
It is a brave thing to listen like this.
To risk finding yourself alone
in the presence of all this company.
What am I looking for in this life?
That beautiful humility,
eyes gazing at an unbroken horizon,
parched lips on a baby's forehead,
hands passing a bowl of food around the kitchen table.
surrendering each night to a weightless world of dreams.
She breathes deeply,
Stays up all night
Wailing her desires at the moon,
Smoothing out the day’s scars,
Tending to tomorrow’s life. The seeds fall.
These rocks have heard her stories many times.
They whisper their heat
into my bones.
The wisest people I know ask more questions than give answers. They shy at praise and often speak of the limits of their understanding.
The strongest people I know let more tears fall than fists fly. They melt in another's arms and yell into the night. They meet each day's work with a simple determination.
The kindest people I know don't ask how I'm doing. They soothe with their eyes and their touch warms skin even before making contact. They listen rather than give advice.
The best people I know speak sparingly, but with much intention. They aren't the loudest, or best dressed, but they are the last on the dance floor, and the first to wake after a night of revelry to sit in the morning sun. They are the ones who walk as if every footprint were a scar, and every breath, a prayer.
What is this right life?
If the hawks greet me on the phone line outside of my front door on a spring morning
Is this not a rite in any way imaginable?
What is this service? What is this responsibility,
except to the earthworms who float in the driveway after a long and steady rain
Lost in an expanse of impermeable ground.
I return them the the soil, and watch them squirm their soft bodies into the darkness.
Many times I have done that too
in this right life. This rite life.
And what about a left life?
A leftover life, a decomposition life.
A bones in the compost pile life.
I hope to leave a life in which I have left
a useful thing or two, for the jays who punctuate my mornings with
terrible squawks. Yes, even them.
Give them a lock of my hair that their children may be warm.
May there remain enough that my single life is not a period
at the end of this wild and whimsical sentence.
With my feet tucked beneath me on the worn couch
I guide a small, burnished needle
plowing soft rows in the tender cloth,
seeding cotton in a field of indigo.
Oils gather on my hands as I twist
wiry wool into smooth tendrils.
Beneath the soft hum of the wheel,
I breathe a prayer to the sheep
who, relieved of their winter burden,
dine on meadowgrass.
I sit to weave and my dusty soles press
the heddles to the cold floor.
The world is full of such long and difficult work to be done
but with patience, pattern emerges.
Fragrant marigolds steep and my palms,
stained with their color, wring
saturated cloth over the kitchen sink.
The laundry line strung across the backyard
hangs heavy with damp yellow sundresses.
Their long shadows sway on the bolted grass.
I am so often caught up in strings,
tethered to this ordinary world.
The room is thick with the heat of the woodstove as
my fingers negotiate order in the web of wool in my lap.
With patience, I find purpose.