from an evolving collection, Stirrup of the Sun & Moon

I. CLEAR-SEEING


I am chasing a new placid order.

Behind a gray wall, faint thunder in the distance,

this heart is no longer defeated from grieving.

If you are awake, you are grieving

including all that hasn’t passed yet.

You are drinking from a two-handled cup:

preciousness…and…absence.

Until now, I was angry about it all.

I rebelled against this inner-knowing

even to the point of slowly unstitching myself.

If loss is built-in to all of this, I thought, why invest?

It is what has kept me from ever loving fully.


But I did something this morning I can never take back.

I drank from the cup of no handles.

I swallowed the moon while gazing at my mother’s face across the breakfast table.

My heart exploded and became the rooting ground of clear-seeing.


This medicine is not grandiose.

It is looking into such a face and feeling-with-full-knowing

it could be for the last time.

This seeing is not grasping.

It is feeling future grief swimming through your own bloodstream.

It is feeling a future infection coursing through your own lymphatic rivers

and being at peace with your own departure.

This embrace of our own departure is not madness.

It is the great and terrible reminder;

as much as we try to erect immovable walls and fortresses,

we are part of nature,

and our own death ensures we honor the pact

we made to the ancient membership.


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II. THE DREAM

The dream begins the same way every time.

I am standing at the cliff edge — the last of my people.

Hail is pelting me in the face.

I no longer want to draw breath.

I no longer want to walk the river’s edge.

I no longer want to live.


Though the day is crisp, and sunlight drips down onto everything,

all light has left my world and I cannot possibly remain.

My grief-racked body longs for its own release.

I feel the warm faces of everyone I have ever loved

beckoning to me from the other side of an invisible curtain.

The memory of their eyes and smiles flutter past like wings.

In a final act of terrible loneliness, I throw the blanket from my shoulders

and ready myself to throw my body to the burnt-umber rocks below.

My feet leave the precipice.

The bag of bones I had called a “self” tumbles downward —

an offering to wolves and vultures.

My spirit remains.

My spirit remains.

My spirit remains.

There is no extra breath to take.

I become the wind.

As if pulling thread from the hem of a great blanket,

I uncoil from everything I once was.

My grief turns into joy.

My wailing agony from separation turns into a chant of release.

I fly into the embrace of the invisible.

My spirit remains.

My spirit remains.

My spirit remains.


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