but the trees said

 

i left and came back

many times.

 

i almost left

for good,

 

but the trees said

stay.

 

the blue mountain air

called across the miles,

 

across the

traumas,

 

held me in its warm

wooded hands

 

and breathed back

what i needed.

 

this imprint, this point

of reference and reverence,

 

takes me out of body,

out of present:

 

places me

inside

 

the portal

to my larger self—

 

the goddess fortress:

where inner child,

 

inner voices, and

wise woman

 

are all held in

unison; where

 

everything needed is

right here: huddled within

 

and beneath and atop these

great pine branches;

 

where we can

remember

 

and feel

safe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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of two matryoska dolls

 

 

in our

dreams we

 

are mostly mouths.

we open at the center,

 

join two hollows. painted faces

hold years of words,    of wounds,

 

 

the patina of warm hands    twisting.

 

 

we    take    turns          devouring.

each night, dream, decade—we

 

fine-tune: some day we will

walk right out of this

 

festoon and into

each other.

 

 

 

 

 

one

i’m sitting in the er again

with the one i’m still attached to,

the one who still loves me, hurts me.

 

once upon a time: the one

 

i’ve begun the de-tangling,

de-numbing, de-membering:

a cutting declaration.

 

you have to go

all the way back

to the beginning:

 

you came

into this world

as love.

 

how that love

was or was not received

was not up to you.

 

it still isn’t.

 

your part becomes: when

to walk away, when to close the

gate, when to forge a new blade—

 

when you’ve had enough;

when you keep

coming back to:

 

you are still the one who hurt me.

 

and maybe there’s a child; and maybe

there’s twenty some odd years; and maybe

there’s a church, a house, a library of memory.

 

but there’s still the searing pain

and urge to burn the abyss

and need to fly——far, far away.

 

the truth is:

the child is no longer

a child.

 

we are each here

now on our

own terms:

 

green shifting to blue.

 

we are still a circle,

but with more branches

to balance out our roots.

mess and bliss

the snow is here

to greet me home;

 

ice blossoms coat

freeze frame trees.

 

i keep putting things

back in the box

 

—so i can breathe—

 

like when

we were kids

 

and had to put

one thing away

 

before taking out

some thing new.

 

how i anguished to bring

the pieces together:

 

the fairy, the fawn, the

lego, the dragon, the pawn.

 

i knew they all belonged

in the world.

 

how is she still in the world?

 

i let my own child play

with every thing at once,

 

until pure chaos ensues.

she doesn’t like to be told

 

what to do. many games have

lost their pieces and rules—

 

but their shells

are    beautiful.

 

amid lizards and cats and

dominoes and blocks; penguins and

 

cards and marbles and rocks; dice and

jacks and cherries and ships:

 

she stands    tall

in her mess and bliss.

 

 

 

of a piece

it’s building      inside her:

a steep–sharp that can’t find its way out.

it will devour her either way.

 

sometimes she doesn’t shower for days.

she doesn’t want to be any where near

godliness.

 

she has to let it break down,

escape through her

blood, sex, waste ; eyes, pores, mouth.

 

but first she must shatter:

let the pieces conspire to make

the long trek     across    her flat heart.

 

she knows that death

is just another death,

is just another       revolving door.

 

after that we become

myth; fly in and out of

bodies, species, truth.

 

she’s been running her whole life

and is still not equipped:

but any one can fall off a cliff.

 

she waits for the wolves

to come into her scent;

she and it and they are strong.

gray squirrel in winter (for mary)

 

the trees are bare and

giving up some of their

secrets. i watch a gray

squirrel run: up, down;

 

up, down; burnt orange

leaves in his mouth. he moves

like a giant inchworm, his

quick legs leading as his

 

thick rolls follow. he has

chosen a thin, crooked oak

amid the pines and poplars.

she sways just a bit, unlike her

 

straighter neighbor, who can

sway a foot or more when

the big winds come. as his small

body scurries, hugs the gray-

 

brown bark, i wonder if he’s aware

of the rising sun behind him;

of the glow beyond the mountains;

of the great height of the tree—

 

so focused is he

on growing that dark

clump in the

small fork.

 

his agility and

grace repeat as he

leaps from the

middle of one

 

tree to the

top of the

next, caught

in the abundant orange.

 

i wonder if he’s counting:

steps, trips, leaves; if he’s full—of

angst, joy, dreams. or maybe

that’s just me. at the end

 

of the day, he will curl

into his bed of acorns

and leaves, rocked

to sleep by the wind.

 

I discovered after writing and posting this poem that January 21 is National Squirrel Appreciation Day. I mean, that’s just crazy.  I never knew such a day even existed. I think Mary Oliver had something to do with this little joke. ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

light

light appears light

but can be heavy,

 

carried for decade-miles

inside these lantern bodies.

 

these machines with breath

are a bliss and a burden:

 

they flutter like compass

needles,

 

toward each other,

away;

 

toward truth,

away.

 

they blunder,

belie their divinity,

 

seek to fly off

the face.

 

only time will tell;

only clichés will fall away.

 

for now, this is the way

to the bird bath,

 

to the fat strawberries

along the wire fence,

 

to the fatter blackberries

along the tree line.

 

i listen to my self

falling asleep and

 

each breath is like god moss

cradling my head.