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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A Daughter’s Prayer

The Past

As a young child, I carried many ants
on my arms
but he blew them off
in the hurricane of his voice.

He hacked away at the woods with his questions,
one tree at a time,
one dream at a time,
severing my heart from his
until the forest of my soul laid bare.

I grew up in the shadow of his cloud
never asking for more sunshine
than needed to stay put within the four walls
of family and expectations.

The Present

Can roots grow where there are none left?
Can they grow like philodendrons
from nothing but water
and promises to change?

The Future

Here, in the garden
I rest,
with the running water
of the fountain.
The sun burns my eyes with hope and
I feel a tingling.
My nails grow long and spindly.
My body shrinks with wrinkles.
My voice cracks like the heron’s calls.

I see an old woman now,
moss-covered,
with long, greying hair,
roots twisting and
touching the earth
that holds her father’s ashes.

Now

Bid the clouds that muffle
our cries farewell,
for it is not too late yet.

Let it not be death that frees us.

Open Window

I filled the ‘O’ in LOVE with black
after you broke my heart.
You slipped into the dark hole
of memory, my source of nightmares.

She spoke French.
I spoke heartbreak.
You said swear words
I didn’t know existed.

I opened the window and
thought about jumping, but
I worried you wouldn’t hear
the thud, and the trees’
branches would catch me.

I threw out all your stuff
and her flimsy dresses.
I saw a pink one, fitted,
slinky, and imagined it
clinging to a body
like betrayal.

The clothes hung on
to the trees, flares of love
signaling my rescue from above.

Female Wolf

Dear Former Beloved

Thank you for being the man in the dark room of my dreams. Your intrusions as the predator of the psyche shook me awake. Your force called the wild woman within.

(Are the people in our lives just lessons, just moments of time that teach us to shed the shit that cakes our muddy paws? Can a she-wolf find her mate and stop having nightmares?)

You showed me the killing room in my head, and I nearly threw away the key. Near death, I crawled my way out into the light.

And then, you came into my sleep. I held a baby—ours—and you turned your head away. On awakening, I wondered if I could survive the rejection. But now I know that I was being reborn and this meant everything.

Pleading for time, I gathered my strength for the first and final battle: letting you go.

The forbidden door was opened and the stench of starvation willed me to feed the soul cry. From the bones laid on the deathbed, the Bone Woman reconstructed me. I, a wild woman, rose from the ashes of sacrifice.

Now, I stalk the intruder back to his dark corner. And off I run into the horizon, laughing, howling like a coyote.

Thank you.


Inspired by the book I just finished reading: Women Who Run With the Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph. D.