The Foreign Feeling of Hope

I am feeling a little better right now.

Hopeful.

It’s like catching a glimpse of a flickering candle down a long, dark hallway.
I want so badly to hold onto this light.
I want so badly to feel better.
I am throwing myself into doubt, the unknown, the darkness.

Please help me…
Friends, universe, Wakan, that which we cannot understand.
I have to believe in you, or I will have nothing left.

spirit

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and now i lay me down to sleep
praying god my soul to keep
for if there’s nothing more to me
than this spirit i can’t see
i’d rather let it go tonight
let it float up towards the light
leave my body’s prison cell
than capture it inside this well
if there’s something better there
i surrender now to nighttime air
i’d rather feel clouds float by
than stay earthbound and wish to fly

Ashes to Ashes

Shepherd me, O God, he sings, white ponytail
slung back low on his head. Beyond my wants,
beyond my fears. From death into life.

Echoes fade out near the ceiling high above,
where silence alone is observing us.

The choir rises and falls, swells in unison
with bright button-up shirts so unlike ours.
We stand, we sit, yet we should kneel.
I do not remember if music played
when the Father began to cast incense about.

There was milky smoke billowing forth, like water
rushing swiftly to cover the polished wood.
Tracing a cross over and over and over.
I felt the saltwater fall fresh from my cheeks.

Ashes to ashes, dirt to dirt. Dust swept away
from the grave. Yellow roses and a wreath.
Maybe we squirmed in the padded seats meant to be comforting,
thinking of worms and soil and carbon degrading.

Maybe we thought of sharks’ teeth on the beach in summer.
Maybe we thought of both. Time is up. The crew stands by,
in coveralls, waiting for our parade to depart so they may
complete their work and get paid. Just another day,
digging ditches because no one knows what else to do.

And so we scramble into the cars that form a line.
Shaking off the dirt from our clothes because
we don’t want to be claimed just yet.
We leave, but we take this with us.

Now that you’re gone

There is life before death that no one sees except you.
You alone know every waking minute thinking, wanting, waiting.
Walking by the quiet waters.

I have never needed God much until I saw Death.
You knew God when you met Death, and this was your comfort.

I do not know if God is there.
I believe nature protects me, and will claim me when it is ready.
Suck me under the mossy earth.

I listen to your music now that you’re gone.
We read your journals and trace your words with heavy fingertips.
You wrote about love.

Cold in the Doll Bones

Last night I became a paint-eyed doll with a broken leg.
You can fix human limbs but not doll limbs,
because we are only made of porcelain, which doesn’t fuse back together.

We stood in the drunk crowd, tired, and listened.
Angel songs of passion, drugs, and God spilled into us.
I swayed against you to the melody, asking for love in the only way I know how,
fumbling for something to take my breath away with its sheer beauty.

I listened to save my life, or to give me reason not to.
We dreamed of lighting cigarettes against the persistent wind,
of driving to the coast and watching the city lights flicker like a mirage.
At least that’s what I was dreaming of. Were you?

My leg broke in place of my heart, because I needed something tangible,
and I fell hard on the concrete when life shoved me.
No hospitals or casts or prescriptions for me.
Eyes glazed over emerald and my body hardened like glass.

The Torrential Downpour I Walked Through

The walk home today started off well enough.

It was raining good-naturedly and I was clad in my impermeable purple coat.

Rain, lovely rain!

I tromped happily through a few puddles before noticing a slight wetness seeping into my socks.

Ah, doesn’t bother me!

I decided not to take the bus home, and chuckled at the amorphous hunchback blobs trudging to the bus shelter.

But, one-fifth of the way through my walk, I started to resent the rain.

I saw a few runners who appeared very Zen and I couldn’t help but glare at them from under my dripping hood.

My socks were steadily absorbing water and the puddles around me were beginning to resemble a replica of Lake Ontario.

Coursing rivers had taken over the asphalt.

To distract myself, I created a song about the wonders of rain.

Rain, it feeds our crops!

Now, I know there are many uses for rainwater, but this was literally the only one I could recall.

You water those plants, rain!

My jeans were sopping, clinging to my thighs like an unwanted guy dancing too close at the club.

My cute boots were chafing my toes through the thin layer of sodden sock.

My cute boots were not waterproof and not so cute anymore,

Once they were mud-colored instead of white.

Okay, now, that’s enough, I said sternly to the sky.

It didn’t listen.

Thanks to osmosis and gravity, I now could feel frigid wet stripes running from my torso to ankle down each leg.

Come ON, rain! Knock it off.

Bloated worms were swept down the sidewalk. I was witnessing death.

Three-fifths of the way home, I began thanking God.

I do not believe in God, but I thanked it anyway.

I also didn’t want to admit I was talking to myself again.

Hey God, I’m so glad I have a house to go back to.

I couldn’t wait to strip off my soggy layers, brew a cup of tea, and turn on the space heater.

I’m sure all this water serves a purpose.

As usual, there was no reply.

I had many deep thoughts during this walk.

For example, I pondered crop growth factors. For another example, I contemplated earthworm mortality rates. I fantasized about Hawaii, where I hear the rain falls warm.

After twenty minutes, I was thoroughly drenched, but I had reached the final stage: acceptance.

A change of heart came over me as I reached my driveway. I kicked up my heels, frolicked in the showers, and twirled my way to the back door.

Once inside, I gazed out longingly.

Then I said, Oh, I just love the rain.