I’m surprised to see you; after the lifetimes this stretched-out skin —this hive-of-busysadangry-bees mind —these over-firing neurons —these pulled-too-tight and SNAP! strands DNA have seen.
Thirty-two. In eight more years, I will be exactly twice the age as my eldest daughter —or, “her daughter is half her age;” she’s “too young to look that old;” “a baby with a baby;” …infantilized constantly.
Told I’m too young to feel this tired. But newborn children must sleep for seventeen hours and maybe it’s because the world is too little and too much, all at once such a wondrous blur but I saw a colour in nature I’d never seen before and it made me hyperventilate and there’s a train building up speed five miles away and sometimes I think about laying on the tracks, just to see just to see and a jet-engine is roaring and I think how often does an airplane crash into bedrooms at night and is it always a moment of sad, desperately sobbed prayers answered or does everybody feel the world moving in their veins?
Thirty-two, who even are you?
A ghost A child A mother A sister A sister A sister- in-arms.
Thirty-two; I’m surprised to see you.
But I wouldn’t run towards you, hopeful, if I didn’t believe every year of you has been worth it, and the next eight, or thirty-two, or (if I’m lucky) sixty, will be as beautiful as Just This:
“We are learning that before the body can become a temple, it first must become our home.” ― Lucy H. Pearce, Medicine Woman: Reclaiming the Soul of Healing
The field is black
The clouds are white
The tunnel narrows
Like a river
And I move
And there are no sounds
Other than footsteps
It is as if the world is empty
And death is scary
Maybe life didn’t frighten Maya Angelou—
But here I am at a crossroad again
What do I know?
What advice do I have?
Wisdom fades with memory
Or brain fog
My autoimmune disease
Hashimoto is its name
It has turned my world upside down
It starts with my thyroid–the mother of my house
This disease kills my hormones
Boosters my anxiety until it is a Jedi Until…
In an effort to return to the root of my passion in poetry, I’ll be revisiting an old poem to enter into National Poetry Month; I’ve never been one to discipline myself into an agreement to do 30 poems for 30 days and so it seemed more appropriate instead to flip back in my notebook, of all the poems written from Saturday’s Sirens poetry salons, and find something that resonated with me still. I think the power in poetry is not only in the power or relief you find in writing the first draft, but also in how it sits with you, weeks or months or years later. Sometimes this is like visiting with an old friend for coffee and not skipping a beat, other times this is like meeting a stranger and somehow feeling as though you’ve known them for decades. This poem, particularly, was written on my birthday, July 17th, last year, and brought me back not only to the joyous summertime salon, but of warmer days and sunshine, while Northern Ontario spring still sits trapped beneath snow. So here’s to finding a safe place carved into the ice caverns of my heart, as I await warmer days again.
there is a room carved out of my heart, a dark cave with scarlet-and-purpled walls; there is an echo of a beat-beat that vibrates with safe words: passwords to my innermost soul that whisper gateways to a place where there is
no anxiety no lingering sadness that drips from cavern walls and forms stalagmites of regression.
in one of these rooms, there is a low swinging light: a teetering stalactite, which wards away the dark thoughts. they can’t invade, they have no place here in this room of scarlet and burgundy and gold.
flowers grow in the arteries of this heart-room, tree trunks make the ventricles; and hollowed out inside, there is a safe place; a secret garden of my heart-mind, where moss grows over the places where enemies once stayed.
here, even bitter memories that carry the tang of copper, that are as biting as a paper-cut, become sweet, eventually. here, everything is in bloom again:
like spring, where I lay on the soft moss of my fallen worries and put myself to sleep amongst the rubble and wake to renew, repair, resurrection.
there is a room carved out of my heart, where everything is a garden.
Abrazo is the word for hug in Spanish. Brazos is the word for arms. Carrying arms, calm arms, crazy arms wrapping around you. Daring to love you. Even just for a moment’s greeting. Fleeting and quick, or perhaps, at times, enduring. Grab you out of your own space and world, no, that’s not the type of hug I’m talking about. Hopeful, held, healing, those are the embraces I speak of. In this pandemic, I miss casual abrazos from acquaintances. Jolly. Kindhearted. Lovely, put you at ease, hugs. Make you feel like you know each other, trust each other, at least a little. Not awkward, a simple greeting. Or hugs of friends that might linger, like you’re holding onto something precious. Perhaps love, a caring, an importance. Quiet, unspoken, the work of brazos. Reaching arms, reaching for you, for me, reaching love, reaching. Sacrament, sacred. Trust. Under the sky we have all been hurt beneath, same sun, same moon. Volumes of possibility. Where we all feel closer, safer, stronger. Xerox copies of hugs seem like all I have. Yearn, I yearn for that closeness I never knew I would miss. Zero hugs from friends now, zero from acquaintances, zero is too few and yes, I miss them without having known I would have.
There is so much happening in the world and with all my roles–mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, teacher, neighbor, voter…I sometimes forget the role of SELF. The role self and all I need in order to have harmony. On empty, I can’t accomplish much.
I won’t get very far
if I am driving –my body– this vehicle, on empty
will putter, stall, stop. Getting nowhere. I’ll just be stuck here, stuck with these emotions, stuck with these fears, stuck on EMPTY.
ask your heart—
May I have energy?
She will say, yes. She looks out for you. Pumps life into you without any other reason than she loves you. Once-in-a-while, she’d like you to take a moment in gratitude. Place your hand on her, feel her strength and say, “Thank you.”
“Thank you. Thank you for beating all these years, for giving me life for all these years. Such a gift to see my daughter grow, to see my son grow, to see the sun rise and set 16,790 times–truly, that’s a miracle.