You came upon me slowly
like a river tiptoes to its curves
lazy in their wandering
your fingers slowly tracing the arc of my back
daylight dancing on the water of my spine
love is not always fireworks, love
you were the first freedom of river from winter ice
the tang of spring at the back of my tongue
subtle but present
fish emerging from hibernation mud
to taste the first fly of early March
first drop of snowmelt to fall into raging
almost unnoticed, never innocuous
never a show
only this –
the reflection of the sky in the spring-thawed water
was how I found myself reflected in your eyes.
like a wide well in desert
swaying palm in hazy breeze
gathered around pond
in a dark room
we women gathered and showed our skin
like water after a drought
revealing turns and folds like
paths that lead down to a shoreline
footprints in the sand
I felt cool wet rescue flooding into my bones
gathering on tongue like blessing
remembered what it is to feel
earth, no longer alone
our circle completed
a ring of palms around a watering hole.
we are naked. without shame.
DRAFT POEM FOR NaPoMo – use with permission
People are always asking “so how many siblings do you have?”
I never knew this was a complicated question until 2 of them were gone.
Now I don’t know whether to answer
If I say “one” it feels like a lie
but if I say “three” there are always questions
who is older, who is younger, what are they doing now?
I want to say
Two are buried
I am left with
This is never how you introduce yourself
as a living victim of murder
I have a black hole in the center I disappear into. It has a masked bandit face, big as a bear, sneaky like a fox. Terrifying like a wolf.
Anxiety, obsession, rewinding my life and studying it over like a VHS tape. Sometimes the tape breaks and gets into that crunchy little ball.
But there’s stillness there, too. If I can wash away the scummy bug stains of anxiety and find my way through to the dark, it’s brilliant. There’s something quiet there that lives on the deepest inner edge of my consciousness. It’s a soft thing with the fur of my cat, unmovable like she is when she sits in the sun under my chair, or in the recesses of a cloth bag.
When I stroke the quiet, She purrs. Stretches a little and twitches her tail. Comes to rest under my gentle fingertips. Her watchful sleepy eyes chase the anxiety away.
I curl up with her on the floor and fall asleep. Until another creature comes by and strokes me with his fingertips. I stretch. Twitch a little. Fold myself under familiar fingerprints. We are weaving together our breath, his chest rises and falls with mine as we lay silently on the floor. There is nothing to be said, there is only presence woven by our syncopated whispers moving from between our lips. Warmth transferred from palms to arms and back and stomach.
This is the first thing that woke me this morning
tea boxes lined in a row
on the stove
below the kitchen prayer.
my heart thrumming in beat to Purity Ring
hammering nails into a
I have not known you.
This part of me that I have
carried about like a dead thing
like an extension
like a homunculus
has been my noose, a suffocation
the way I hide from secrets
that creep behind your eyes.
It’s easier to solidify you
make you a known thing
create you as a certainty and a fact
than to let you drift
into each moment, like a river
whose water is renewed
in each second that passes.
It’s easier to search answers than to live them
you never know how they will turn out
you just have to let go and left life sweep you
sometimes I feel I will be swept over the cliff
pounded by rocks below
I’d rather scramble for meaning
than be in it, meaning is like drowning
sometimes life is too much for me
and loss is a harbinger that holds too much sway
loss is my shadow, a distortion of myself
always following in my footsteps.
I can stave it through answer
push it away by myriad words
hunt down precious in Google searching
trying to keep the pieces of my life from fraying
I’m afraid to come apart
I’m afraid I will
I’m afraid that nothing works out for me
Permanence is a luxury
too fine for these fingers.
When will I be allowed to hold on?
I know the answer is
when I’m not clutching
when I’m willing to let go.
Sometimes this life is a foggy thing
not quite to be grasped between the fingers
but only felt on the skin like the ghost of rain is.
It’s not a coincidence that it’s foggy lately
that rain comes in spurts
that we can’t have rain barrels in Colorado.
Maybe it’s better to just feel life
instead of having a way to hold it
maybe that’s how our skin is softened by its wetness
its delicious, I-can’t-believe-I’m-alive-ness
maybe that’s how it carves streambeds out of canyons
even rock wants to break down sometimes.