Ravitte Kentwortz


When I close my eyes and meditate on a word, my mind uses it like a cat with

a bird, funny things that I only become aware of when it’s done, a word

gets ruined, I am left with a mess to clean.

For example, the word peace, in such disquieting tones

turns to peas, to piece, to place, to please. The interior of my mind

provides opinions as if there’s a multitude of ornery

me that are not known to me, when I close my eyes to meditate.

They must be very small, bodiless, but with ferocity of judgement.

I sit on a pillow (to avoid falling

in the crack of the sofa), my shoulders,

professing their age, slump. I think, peas, and I pull them back.

I clamp down on my lips

as if I ask them not to utter a sound, lift my tongue

to the roof of the mouth to open

a space for peace in the prefrontal cortex. Not to open but to release

congestion. Not peace but emptiness. Then my jaw is released.

I meditate on the word peace.

My brains suggest, peace like a river. I think, OK, think of

the mother, high on oxytocin after her baby is nursed. Peace,

she says and the baby repeats, peas.

In the bible, the mother is Jerusalem and the peace

is our peace after we’d nursed of her milk. Even her name

is made of the word peace: Salem. And us, who have nursed now for so long

and are never able to stop, us who have sucked our old mother dry

like no other of her many offspring, we have taken the best of her

rivers, her flowing streams, we have stopped the flow, we have diverted the rush

we have turned and sullied her wells. Delight yourselves, says He, in her

abundance, and we have. We’ve been sucking for so long our lips are white with effort,

our skin peeling. She’s going to smack us.


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