tiny home

Josie looked around at the giant house one last time: the vast emptiness, the sloping walls meeting the sprawling floors, the cathedral tiled tub scrubbed as shiny as ever, the multiple pockets of closets where things had crouched hidden for years—now flung open, naked and wanting. She was ready: to say goodbye, to close the multiple doors, to run as fast as she could from this wide domestic spread and its wider clutches.

She had a ticket. She felt it in her pocket. Its bulky presence reminded her that she had somewhere to be, something important to do. She couldn’t miss her train. She couldn’t let the people on the train down. They were counting on her. The whole world was counting on her.

In one hand she carried an argyle suitcase, and in the other a worn leather briefcase. On her back was the remainder of her belongings, stuffed into the Jansport backpack she had carried all through high school. Everything else she had ever owned was gone—sold, thrown away, given away, left behind, scattered to the wind.

She felt lighter as she walked away from the cab toward the platform. She felt so light she imagined dropping her remaining possessions to the ground, lifting up off the concrete slab—toes pointed, arms outstretched, face tilted toward the sun as she rose above the crowds watching her ascent.

The train whistle cut through her thoughts as people scurried around her. She felt her feet touch down, and she told them to move forward toward the open door. It was a narrow door, and she turned sideways as she struggled to squeeze her bags through. Where was the conductor to take her ticket? To help her with her bags? To give her a gaze of quiet assurance? Was this even the right train?

She followed the line of travelers down the aisle. They seemed to move with confidence. They seemed to believe. Really, they were just competing for an empty window seat. She finally found one near the rear of the car. She laid her luggage on the aisle seat for a moment, catching her breath before lifting the heavy suitcase up onto the shelf above.

She had not been able to part with her favorite books. They were more important than clothes. She had kept only three changes of clothes, two pairs of shoes (one of which she was wearing—her trusty hiking boots), a blanket, a small pillow, her father’s checkered necktie, a few worn undergarments, and her grandmother’s pink silk scarf. It was the only pink thing she owned. The rest of the trunk was filled with Jane Austen, Pablo Neruda, Margaret Atwood, Paulo Coelho. There were many more, but it had been difficult to choose. She would have rather gone with just the clothes on her back and carried only books. But she noticed that the fewer belongings she had, the more attention she was able to give each one—like dear children important in their own eternal way. While packing she had talked to each one, tucking it in tightly to its tiny assigned space: Don’t worry, you are safe, you are not alone. It was important to say these things out loud.

At the next platform she would board a larger train with a small compartment all her own. Here she would live for the next few months, transverse the states while writing, watching out the wide windows, waiting for a sign. Inside, within the four small stationary walls, she would find and welcome home all the selves that had wandered away over time and become lost within a fractured body, a fragmented memory, a starving marriage, an immoveable mansion. Josie closed her eyes and let the lull of the train put her into a deep sleep.

refuge

healing is always happening

in forgotten parts of the

body, like pockets of fog in a

forest that goes on forever.

 

in this sanctuary, the voices

persist, like wind: tucking you

into the places you resist. the

 

only things that are real are in-

visible; but you already know this—

 

and you are all in.

 

crystals & quiet

the snow is here again. i remember last year, shoveling our

way out from downstairs, forging a path through the tall

 

wall of white, pushing up-hill to break out into the day.

i donned my grandmother’s boots, with plastic bags in-

 

side, and walked. it’s amazing how many people walk in

the snow—people you’ve never seen before, waving their

 

woven mittens, wide smiles under wide brims. the streets are

so clean—and every-thing is covered in an eerie-beautiful sheen

 

of crystals & quiet. this year, i sit looking out the window—

waiting for the neighbor’s kids to trespass into my front yard, maybe

 

leave some evidence in the form of a snowman. i wanted to kick

them out a few months ago. now, i wait for them like i wait for the

 

sun, like i wait for my broken foot to heal. it is a slow process. i’ve

become accustomed to patience over the years; i have accepted my

 

turtle state. but this is a new form of waiting. my whole body is

weary of being sedentary, is longing to walk, to run, to jump, to

 

be in the world. my spirit is tired of depending on others, of being at

their mercy, of painstakingly measuring out every movement to

 

avoid further injury. but i am grateful that i am not alone, even when

i am. i am grateful i have another working foot. i am grateful that

 

this one will eventually work again. i think of all the people who will

never walk, who are confined to a chair, a couch, a bed. confinement

 

takes on a whole new meaning when you are suddenly in those iron

shoes. it is a heavy realization, how fortunate we are even when we

 

feel our worst. i know there are things to be learned here, now and

always. eventually these things will break through this stubborn

 

cast and burrow their way to the core. i am waiting——

to be pure, to be whole, to be more loving toward each

 

person in their own crystal prison, to be more

loving toward my flawed, flurried self.

 

hands on

god is not one of us;

god is all of us.

 

if we could put our

hands on

 

the whole world,

we would feel it—

 

the story of

the story of the

 

spiral pearly gate

opening and leading

 

us up and out of our

self-preserved caves,

 

around and around in

remembrance circles until

 

we could not do even one thing

without love.

20160203_102950

 

in this room for the living

in this room for the living,

this calico chirping

 

in the window, thinking

she is a red, red robin;

 

this lantern singing,

this green brush growing

 

her lush periwinkle comb,

grooming me into the next

 

branching under which i am

disarmed by the charms

 

of soft pine stories, gently

pressing their charges

 

against me as i walk,

walk, walk into dissolve.

 

and then

perched on a still point

ready to pivot

 

after whirl-wind years spent

trying to outrun grief

 

slate blue hand

held over tired

 

heart; mouth-moved

legs and panic

 

some climb

some dive

some incubate

some die

 

within all lies

the spirit to survive

 

and then,

to fly