New Life

IMG_0766My daughter takes me by the hand
“Mama, come and see what I planted!”
She brings me shoes; no reason to decline
Her insistent hand pulls me along
This woman child, nearly nine, no longer only mine
She takes me to the graveside of a rotten spud
Half buried in the earth
The Worms have eaten holes right through
We bend, admiring its vast decaying tunnels
“Mama, did you even know I planted it?”
I hadn’t, yet the shoots
Had sprouted waxy green and new
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the family in our mandala

IMG_8869the family gathers
themselves in the
stick and leaf mandala
we have spent an hour
making and we cringe
a little, then give way
to change

those sticks were up
and now they’re not so 
maybe, put them up again?

the man has guided the child
so gently down the fallen tree
they call a highway
with just the perfect balance
between protector and
co-adventurer i can’t
stop watching and i call as
they come down to me

you’re such a good daddy
i tell this gentle stranger
and he smiles and takes it in

the women and the other children
cross the stream below my vantage
the boy with shining hair holds tightly
to his mother’s hand and steps on to
a rolling branch so easy while
she chooses steps to match

i’ve very much enjoyed the way 
your family crosses streams-
with love
i tell her and she smiles and says
the mud is really sticky if you
want the full experience

 

prayer to the god of aces

2014-08-05 17.25.22

i have decided to stop

grousing when i play

cards with family when

the cards don’t deal my

way i will no longer live

as if i had some unfair

disadvantage, but

instead enjoy

the happiness i see

on other people’s faces

and believe the gods of kings

and queens and serfs have

dealt me thus because they

know

my skills’ enough to overcome

my wayward luck

rocks and roots

rocksandrootsi make a temporary home
for just the afternoon
where rocks and roots
embrace so tightly by the
stream they become one
another they change
for each other

here at the water’s edge
i find a pool for mermaid
dipping in, a place
where love gets in
and for a while I pray
for you  and willfully
ignore your messages

i pull the layers off
and slide in naked
choosing gratitude not shame
author-ity not institution
integrity not law
become the huntress and the
virgin who renews her wholeness

we cannot make each other whole
but recognize a kindred soul
hold on like rocks and roots
that grow together
make the bank where
what was once the hidden lakes
and what was once the snow
becomes the cooling pool
becomes the laughing brook

			

the reason for my writer’s block

picky-eater_thumbMy mind is like a finicky eater. My mind child comes reluctantly to the table, and I offer her things to eat- memories so sweet, secrets so juicy, and tales so nuanced and tender that I think she can’t fail to consume them. But my mind child just picks at everything. She makes faces and sighs, and sneaks sentences under the table to the dog when I’m not looking. She picks up a single word, like a grape, and peels it delicately before licking it and then squeezing it between her fingers until it pops loose and flies across the table. She stirs the chapter I have lovingly prepared for her around like mashed potatoes and drags her fork through it before looking up and asking if there isn’t anything else to choose from. Sometimes she even scoots down off her chair and goes rummaging through the cupboards in search of something better. There’s a box of writing prompts in there that have some possibilities, but she just shakes it once and checks the expiration date. These prompts, apparently, have grown a little stale. She doesn’t even consider the nutritious sacks of memories on the pantry shelf. Writing is far too difficult when you have to start from scratch, even if you have the best ingredients.

the wild strawberry

800px-Indian_strawberry444not every story of enlightenment
extols the absence of desire

the only time you'll ever have
is now and finds you here

hanging on a cliff edge
a tiger above you
a tiger below

no hope
two mice are
chewing on the only vine
you cling to, panic
if you want to, try
to climb to safety, but
there isn't any

there is one thing
only one thing
hanging, still

within your grasp

a wild strawberry
taste it, savor
the sweet red fruit
enjoy the space between
the tigers, the sweetest
time there ever was is 

now

the sun god in the underworld

Fire Promptfrom the great above
you open your ear
to the great below

its calling your name

the call gets louder
echoing, ringing
shouting, beating
pounding in your mind
even if no one else
can hear it

to answer could mean death
to ignore it most certainly
will kill you

well meaning friends might
try a hundred times to
talk you out of it

it isn't their call

unknowing but compelled
aching but resolved
you cross the threshold

every gate is locked until
you let go all the things
you hold most dear,
the final gate finds you
with no defenses left

the warrior that you are
can finally say today
i die and gates
fall open, awed by
your despairing strength