I root and dig for bone, shell,
I find potatoes and worms.
The peppermint is sprouting.
Its green, creeping stolons
are stark against desert dirt.
My dogs dig.
They find little treasures.
A bird’s beak,
a steak bone.
It’s like a witches brew
instead of a spring garden.
Still, I dig
allowing the cool earth
to slip like blood
between my fingers.
The spring air is unseasonably warm
and hope travels
as songbirds whistle,
as ants wonder in and around the mint.
Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. (44)
~from The Tao Te Ching by Lao-Tzu translation by S. Mitchell
Sometimes, sleep sits empty on a brick wall. It doesn’t waver or fall, it’s thin smoke, anxiety on a string swaying in a spring breeze, more gently than a tire swing—
I count how many likes on my poem, posted on social media: only one today; six the other day; zero the day before that– and the poems sit empty unread, unliked,
Anxiety takes hold of my breath, holds it hostage, sucking life, zipping it up in too tight of jeans until stomach aches, and vomit sneaks up the windpipe never to escape. But sits there, uncomfortable—
Even if my life is uneventful, I still try to make the day worth something. I love the sunrise as much as breath, I love the warmth radiating on my skin, hands in dirt planting carrot seeds, beets radishes for their vibrant colors for their sweet or bitter taste, hoping they take root—
My roots are not tied down to place, but to memory, to my children, to poems, even if unread— my name ties them to earth and root. Showing the universe I’m here. Life has meaning and, maybe, in that moment that I posted that poem, bravery stood up—
Sometimes, anxiety punches me in the gut, knocks the wind right out of me and maybe I’ll fall, and then again, maybe I won’t.
Each morning that I wake up, grateful for another chance…