Across the tip of my monitor
beyond the top edge where contact
with humanity ends, I see
successive lines leading upwards to
a final one that
rolls across the expanse of my vision,
rising and falling along
the crests of distant trees.
Demarcated by shades fading
from green to grey, the line
is juxtaposed at 4:57pm
by the pinkening sky,
sharpening to orange at
the far edge that frames my view.
Quarantine here. Where the long limb of an oak tree lumbers across this horizon, a familiar branch, like an elbow, reaching down as if to rest, has a crook…
It was just after sunrise.
With a warm cup of coffee clutched
between clasped hands,
I sat on the couch
my head weighted down
by news of murder on the streets
and shots fired between sheets.
I glanced upward
across the room
towards the frame
of the open door
when it happened.
When I saw what I had
never seen before,
when I, myself,
Caught in the act of being human.
The Madrone stared back at me.
Strong. vibrant, limbs
gnarled and honest,
bark-skin curled and cracked
across solid branches and trunk.
I spent all morning avoiding the gold biscuit tin
with the wide, cellophane tape wrapped tightly around the lid.
On arrival, I’d signed off with Fed Ex at the front door.
“This box contains cremated remains,” the note said.
I felt nothing.
But now, by afternoon, my circles around the object
have tightened towards the truth of it.
I reach to take it off the shelf and hold it in both hands.
I am struck most, and immediately,
by the weight of it.
I am aware this is only a portion of you. The rest was distributed to siblings or…
ineffable, boundless and free,
how far down to the center of the earth do you dwell,
sourcing us there as your own?
We, your children
your missing parts?
Why is it that you hide there,
waiting over lifetimes for us to find you?
Or, am I the one hiding
while you wait in plain sight,
blinded, as I am
by my-one-human-life -
this trick of fate
that robbed me of my trust
setting me on the path of hide
in the first place.
It’s a game I have no way of winning - until…
How much of life needs to break down
at first slowly
then in ways, unimaginable.
And not only here,
How much needs to be turned inside out
make no sense
as day after day
familiar routines fade into memory
and fate makes folly, once and again, of my plans.
How much of this happens
before I begin to see that even I
That I am not the person I have come to know myself to be.
I have tied my identity my ambitions and my future to mainstays and certainties now upended…
The more we dissect something
the more we name its smallest parts
and name its whole
the more we believe
in the doing
we are making something
- making something called
The more we seek to identify and name
what we have ‘discovered’
so we can birth more things
so we can feel powerful
- feel we are
the more we miss the beingness
of all we observe.
The less relating we have.
The less we have.
What we dissect recedes
unable to reveal itself
unable to come into view
we are not seeing it.
May I awake each day remembering
I am not the master of
all that follows.
May the light casting through the window remind me
that the uprightness of my home depends
upon the power
of a far-away sun.
May I remember how little I know of that sun,
its un-thinkable scale,
the force of its heat and invincible magnetism.
May I remember I depend on this.
And everything else.
May I remember I depend on the children who wrestle and shout in the room next door, without whom I may have forgotten, altogether, what it sounds like to laugh like…
Enter my house.
My door has been tightly closed in these times.
Plagues are about,
and there is much pain to fear.
You have been there, outside,
for a thousand and more days now.
I catch you watching me through the windows.
Patient, attentive, and curious.
Yet I keep out anyone new.
Those I don’t know well enough,
to rely upon,
to admit to my shelter
against the pain.
Today, though, something changed.
Today, my fears were upended
for one brisk moment,
by a curiosity
of my own.
I suppose I could not hold…
I heard once that women have a mile of broken glass around them.
That they have lived for four thousand years
with the heartache
caused by men.
Wounds around their vaginas.
Insults spoken as they nursed babies at their breasts.
Told they are not worthy of reading the words in a book.
Flinching from a violent hand.
Wiping a drunken man’s drool off their chest.
Refused their own legs to walk away.
Even their mothers taught them sex is for men,
their bodies who carried and birthed them,
designed for their pleasure. …
On January 21st, 2017, over 5 million American women and their allies took to the streets across America, joined by parallel protests in almost two hundred other countries around the world. It was the largest protest in support of the rights and interests of women the world had ever seen and the largest single-day protest in the United States. The march happened a day after the inauguration of a President that Steve Bannon recognized as the greatest villain an “anti-patriarchy” movement could wish for. Two years later, Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice, 27 years…