Our Massage Therapist Comes and Reintroduces You to Your Body
We are beyond doctors now,
escaped the surgeons and nurses,
the hospital jail-break back to our home,
living this new normal
and I am hippocratic in my oath
to protect your privacy,
won’t sing the details of your strife in these lines,
but we are home and you are alive.
The details of your survival
I keep tucked silent behind my breastplate,
thumping beside my heart.
It is my honor to care for you,
to bring you back from the cusp of forever dark,
and tonight we are at the crossroads
of something cosmic,
He has powerful soft hands, healing energy
that flows through the vibration of his fingers,
half man half horse, a centaur with hair draped over his eyes
and a laugh that only nature knows,
planted bare feet, tenderness, warrior strength.
Bring her back to her body
I whisper to him please
and the fire in the fireplace breathes in blue
as he stands at the feet of your small frame
laid out like a milky firmament,
like a sword
your blue steel force of good,
ocean drunk of burdens lifted, psyches shifted,
you threw down your rope so many times off the back of the ship of souls,
and you pulled
and you pulled us
and you pulled us up—
how many souls did you save? (mine/millions)
You processed the pain of humanity in lowering that golden thread,
that rope of hope tossed over and pulled into
your womb like a mother
of the world,
and tonight the fire
and his hands and my heart
are all we have to bring you back to your body,
to re-shift the frame of your name into something that can stay a while.
And I am not one to spill the secrets of magic,
of massaging miracles that bend time,
of aligning bones with stars,
of energy and light moving between bodies,
but I will say
when he leaves
your body is a bright sword again,
is the splayed out star-map of constellations,
is healing and heaven and home.
Decrescendo (age 41)
41 feels so different,
like I have settled into my hips a little,
widened the pelvic floor of my heart
and let in the light of strangers,
tender the flames of virtual squares
with hands outstretched
and promises of a world that is better than this
emerging from this human cocooning we’ve endured,
how much another perspective can say,
angles of sight lip-synching life lines
into a fallen star across an ocean,
and so many things are dying.
So many things are still dying.
I can’t stop buying plants,
never really had an interest before,
but now I’m crowding every slant of light
in our dark house
with armies of green to battle a loss I can’t name.
My office windows crammed with peace lily, orchid, ferns,
ficus, philodendron, and strange little succulents,
one called baby toes, another baby necklace,
another that looks like dragon teeth,
the sharp and the soft together in a shallow pot,
a new friend on my desk is called a prayer plant, goeppertia lancifolia,
violet and green it folds up its hands every night and opens in the morning
joints and hinges of stems speaking in quiet unfolding genus,
and I pray in poems beside it just wanting to make things live around me.
I hate to admit this but a hummingbird died in our greenhouse,
once she flew in, she couldn’t figure out how to fly down and out the open door,
something about the way a hummingbird’s hover doesn’t let them fly down
when they are scared, only up, only skyward to blue.
I found her caught in the plastic winterizing liner on the inside roof,
her iridescent body was tiny in my hands,
I held her in my palm and moved her in the sunlight,
warming her as her tiny soul left, feathers still glinting in the light,
this small stillness in my fingers is like nothing I’ve ever felt,
her vibration hum and whirr silenced and still,
and it’s like the whole world stopped for me, again,
holding a totem of spirit with my mundane flesh,
my warmth and her finite light ended here in my hands,
I hate to admit this but I can’t let her go.
In Buenos Aires, a dear friend in her 80’s just told us she has covid.
I can hear her heavy thick accent, her curiosity, her laughter,
we speak Spanish to each other in a way that makes me feel close,
she dances, even up to now, even through cancer
and breaking her middle finger and wearing a cast
that gives a fuck you to the world, she laughs and she dances
and stays angry at the government in Argentina,
and I want to dance with her, say baila conmigo, corazon,
tell her to lean on me, hold her arm under the elbow, I remember years ago
her grandchildren were swept away in a tsunami in Chile,
clutched in the mouth of an unfair god,
and it seems that same god is hungry,
and I can’t let her go, I can’t let her go,
want to send her a hummingbird on the winds of vitality,
alive and shining,
want to water my prayers into all these plants,
so that everything lives,
but I whisper in Spanish to a soul becoming a rainbow—
querida hermana del cielo
no hay ninguna persona quien puede resistir su ascension,
andale, amiga de las estrellas,
todos los colores son tuyos,
y te amo, te amo siempre, Beatriz.
The praying hands of the lancifolia fold at her name.
I have settled into 41, the apex of sunrising
beginning a long decrescendo of learning
the lesson I never wanted to know—
how to let go.
Waiting for a Letter (for Genghis)
but no postman will come,
no amazon delivery of your warm body back to me.
Didion named it wishful psychosis,
some magical thinking and hallucination,
this waiting for a sign, but I speak in subtle worlds,
I see the imprints of your atoms in the swirl of days,
I feel you here in how the birds sing,
how the backyard pond spills over into stream,
and lately you have been coming to see me in my dreams.
Waiting for a letter, a sign, a way to rewind time,
phantasms of light and shape that shape the body
of my ache, waiting for your face
to appear again from behind the ash,
in the stones and branches of moving trees,
a letter never comes, except the letter G,
little one, won’t you please come back to me?
There were no words that told me farewell,
nothing spoken from your mouth or written by your hands,
just the faded stars blooming in your eyes as you died,
the fixed and dilated sky I cry my mothering into,
always on the cusp of watershed,
I move slow into these new emptier days.
A being is a being is a being of light,
and the world cannot weigh the validity of my grief,
if you are the only child I ever knew.
I am waiting for a letter.
I am waiting for all the wondrous letters to return to me,
waiting for the whole alphabet to form into words other than loss,
but for now, every letter spells your missing name,
like water, my poems gravity-flow into the you-shaped hole that spreads in my chest,
my sounds reflect only the cosmic distance, yet you still shine in me.
I am waiting for my letters to shift into the memory of all our joy,
and the time will come when this love language
sings another song, but for now, I will write the dirges. All the letters, G.