Ancient Feeling

Why does everything have to have meaning?

Why do I look for trees that are old?

I look for trees to outlive me, to be bigger than trauma, so I can feel comforted by majesty and legacy.

These trees are small in the desert but who am I to judge?

The rocks are older than pain. They chip apart in more fragments. Surely, that should provide some solace.

Why is “should” being mentioned?

The fly’s eyes match the red rock. Lizards crawl over logs like thoughts. Drops of water fall on my elbow, my forearm. Wind pulls past my left ear.

I wonder what time sunset is. My phone has no service and the suspense is exciting.

I see a future of fainting on the trail, sleeping it off on the red earth. Losing track of time and place.

Is that why I came here? To weep? To watch the yellow pages flutter while my heart beats in my temples?

My breath is not mine, but the land’s. My body is not mine, but the land’s. My heart is not mine, but biology’s.

I pass one family and then see no one. Everyone has gone home, and I have, too.

Home is here with particles of dirt dancing and wet cheeks over dry earth. Grass twists into curls. Moss grows faded green; a green so dry it’s blackened and flaked. The moss has pores like my face. Breathing sacredness. The ground glitters with silver in some places.

The half moon is there. I don’t have anything else to say about it. It hangs. It is being a moon. Can I be a moon? I’d love to be hidden and then suddenly be seen. But I already know that feeling. It’s called love. It’s called an awakening from sleep.

I find a piece of silver and it breaks apart in my fingers like fish scales. Maybe all the silver belonged to a giant fish that swam here when there was water, before it was colonized. It’s a relief to feel something ancient because if something can live that long, I believe I can, too.

On the way back, I clutch a smooth, rounded, wooden stick that fits perfectly in my palm; a walking stick for the soul. Halfway down, a large boulder beckons me. I hug it and feel the mass of a thousand tonnes leaning into me. It holds time itself in its gravity. My cheek to the rock, smooth meets rough, skin meets ant. They climb onto me like I am an extension of the rock. Filled with the weight of the moment, I put the wooden stick into my bag and make my way down the rest of the mountain. I have made an offering and now I have one with these words.

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Rising of the Womb

We live in concrete structures
In houses and towering apartments
And need to meditate to feel
The earth beneath us
I sat a long time and felt
The earth below the base
Of my body
The house stood on firm ground
I could feel it rise to meet me
At my bed as I lay down
Oh Mother
I have missed you
Why must I wait so long
To see you
And she said
Why must I wait so long
For you to hear me
I’m always with you
In the morning light
And the moon that peels
Away your sadness.
The air in your home
Came from somewhere
The womb of breathing
Is not just for babies
You are the newly born
Awake, awake to this day
You are water, dear,
Running for your life
Just close your eyes
And the dirt will appear
Between your toes
And sprout new plants
In your mind like wishes
Instead of sinking
See yourself being held
By my hands.

klimt-kopfstudie-mit-geschlossenen-augen-nach-rechts

Cover image is Danaë, by Gustav Klimt.

Image above is Head of a Woman with Closed Eyes, Looking Right, by Gustav Klimt.

Hannah R. Lyles

Spellbound

If you look at the tread of the front wheel
long enough, you’ll either get into
a hypnotic rhythm, or you’ll cause your
premature death. How much of life

is this rhythm? We are bound by routines
like bundles of dried flowers by a string.
The gravel falls everywhere and you’ve got
no control where it lands. You never know
where the first weed in the flower bed
will show itself. But if you find out what
nutrient the earth is missing, you can
at least try to add some love beneath
your feet.

 

 

March Morning

The leaf cups my body

as if to say

I am enough.

Shielded from the sun,

I sleep in a cocoon

of green.

The memory of the mild

winter is faded like

translucent skin.

The mandarin tree is

my home within a home;

a human family live

in a dark box nearby

with openings

that are mostly closed.

Every morning

the train horn

b  l  o  w  s.

I know of this machine

because my mother transmitted

her knowledge through webbed feet:

our ancestors were born near the tracks.

How does it feel to be a lily pad

hanging above water?

Or a turtledove chick who dies

on its first flight

from the potted plant?

Or a squirrel who breaks

the first nut of summer?

The leaves extend my limbs

into the earth, but

no matter how grounded I am

the questions come like raindrops,

bursting into the hard, white buds

that will bring orange fruit.

Frog
Credit: Hannah Lyles