over & over, closer & closer

i finally took down my christmas tree.

she was a beauty. she brought us so much joy.

i hated to pluck the fragile ornaments off, one by one,

and toss her outside. but i know she will break down gently

into the soil and help create new life. she was already breaking down

in my living room: pine needles and sap and bits of branches everywhere.

 

part of me wanted to leave her there by the window and watch her decompose,

watch her finish her process of drying up, falling apart, withering to bits on the floor,

to see how long it would take, what it would look like. i don’t think this would bring me as

much joy as seeing her fully fledged with ribbons and lights, but in a more tangible way, it would

remind me of my own fleeting life, my own gradual breaking down, my own gentle (de) composition.

 

in her place by the window sits a large house plant that had been dying in a dark corner. now she can

sit in the sun and revive. she looks at me gratefully, watching me work, watching me watching her.

she reminds me of how happy my father was to sit on the balcony in the florida sun, soaking up

the warmth. there’s a picture of him somewhere in a rocking chair, facing out to the world,

slightly smiling. he knew he wouldn’t make it through another winter; he was ready to

go toward the light … into the light … through the light … to become light.

 

these are the rituals we need. these are the things we live to observe,

experience, write down, and remember. we do the same things

every year, over and over, as if getting closer and closer to

the bright light center with each magnificent spin.

 

Note: When viewed in a word doc format, this poem forms the shape of a pine tree on its side. I don’t think I can show landscape view in this platform.

 

 

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vessel

don’t believe

the mirrors—

 

except in cars;

and even then,

 

in moderation.

i’m headed out

 

into the 3d world:

where i’m visible

 

in full—not just from

the front and torso up.

 

i need to feel real

pages in my hands,

 

real road under

my wheels. i’m

 

listening to tori,

trying to feel some-

 

thing. the truth is,

i don’t like music with

 

words anymore. there

are too many words in

 

the world. this is probably

how some people feel about

 

poetry; it’s how i feel about

poetry, sometimes. and yet,

 

here i am adding to the heap.

in my dream, my mom and dad

 

are young and happy. they look

like they did on their wedding day:

 

beaming and laughing and

of a piece. but we are also there,

 

we three girls. they’re drinking

red wine and being the life of the

 

dinner party: a glimpse into the

before. in another dream, i am

 

being assaulted by a robotic arm

with a giant camera eye. it’s still

 

attached to the corner where the wall

meets the ceiling as it roves over my

 

body, pressing down hard on me

with a hum. somehow it’s the whole

 

length of me. i think of the incubus

in florida, but after. in the moment,

 

in the dream, i’m just trying to

cry out for help—but it may all be

 

stuck in my head. there’s a loud

alarm going off that i think i’ve

 

triggered. how do dreams

become 3d? or is it all just

 

smoke and mirrors? i am a

vessel of shifting memory:

 

moving from bliss to terror to

bliss again. the wide extremes of

 

being. maybe this is how we

learn the middle, the balance.

 

as i sit and think of the years,

the sharp ache is finally gone—

 

but in its wake, a deep

loneliness that has

 

learned to expect,

and love, solitude.

 

 

 

 

 

 

pitch

 

i’m in the guest bedroom,

writing down all the hymns.

 

i’m guessing at some of the

words; welling up at others:

 

streams of mercy

never ceasing.

 

there’s a built-in happiness

in the notes, the chords;

 

the memory of fingers

flying over piano keys.

 

i am wooden wind chimes

in a metal world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

we climb the continual

we are each born into this world with a dream.

when we first arrive, we know it to our core.

 

as time—and we—unfold, we begin to forget;

it burrows back down into our recesses.

 

sometimes small glimpses will come to the

surface, if we allow space: a painted picture, a

 

sculpted pot, a sleeping story. unmet dreams

follow us en masse down dark side streets,

 

find us in all-night conversations,

meet us under a portal of stars.

 

we climb the continual spiral—

toward voice, birth, source, love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

favorite part of speech

i walk beside the river in the snow.

my cat curls beside me on the couch.

 

we are in this world to rub up

against other things and beings.

 

we define ourselves

in relation to others.

 

try to describe who

or where you are

 

without prepositions:

the words of relation-

 

ships. even an

island is in the sea,

 

far from land and

longing for habitation.

 

jump into the water

and see where it takes

 

you. cast off your

past, the weight of

 

mistakes, the heavy

anchor of indecision.

 

it is time to sail, to

take flight, to feel the

 

wind in your wings:

in, on, through, between.

 

 

 

we are december

while we were away,

winter happened.

 

i came home to fresh

frost on the grass.

 

we share this set of days,

this slow creep toward

 

the center of the snow

globe maze. at any moment,

 

a child’s hand can scoop

up the glass and shake us into

 

oblivion. her delight is

our delay. in the falling

 

flurries, i find you: wrapped

in your mother’s red scarf—

 

holding the hand of time.

we are the child, the snow,

 

the mother, the scarf;

we are december.