wisdom of old wounds


she's inside, tracking the directions north east south west, marking time on the walls. she makes light out of ribfat and digs her toes deep, kneehigh, she makes light out of ribfat. 

i am not going to write about old wounds. not in that way. cat scratch, broken glass, flake of sheet metal to the eye. broken toenail, silver hair, no broken bones, no surgeries, no overnights in hospital.

there is this place i have been circling, where she lives, and writing about it brings me great comfort, but it makes me feel more alone every time i go there. write about it:
she marks the directions on the wall. in the post-apocalyptic world i would drop to my knees and learn to sniff out sweetness and danger and new ways of naming love. the place is inside my chest, is deep red dark cave in my ribcage. is soft diaphragm floor and branched ribs ceiling, collarbone and trachea and the light shines through like sunset light over a wildfire. the deep red light, deep red smoky light, when the sky is dark and it is night the world inside will go bright with fire and fleeing animals. the kind of light that is relieving, is lay your burden down, you could run now but the fire is faster. 

mark your directions inside ribcage walls and listen to the wind carrying smoke and the birds fly faster than fire, tell the stories before it's too late. but the others, the deer and foxes and wild cats and black bear, they are slow on their feet and they know well enough to be panicked. they run as far as they are willing to go and then they lay their burdens down, let the trees take them, let the smoke take them, let the wild screeching wind take them. and the light changes. 

all the time the light changes. you will not know by the sun, in a ribcage, in a wild fire. you will not know by the sun or the stars or the sound of her voice which direction is up or down. the light has shifted, and shifted again, and you are tempted to say the light's all wrong, but then you know this way from that because you have marked, again and again, your whole life long, the directions on the walls of the inside and the breath under your feet is a rhythm you can trust. and the heat of the inside, you can trust. and the thickening shadows and half-lights and tricks of light you can trust. your arms spread wide wall to wall rib to rib, tha-thump tha-thump and it is steamy red and heart-close and it is good to move closer, it is good to taste the air with your tongue, iron-sweet. you take the stories i tell you and you line the walls with them. you stretch out your arms and say she told me this one, this one is true. as far as you can see, arms outstretched as far as you can see: she told me this one, this one is true.

(freewrite: write about the wisdom of an old wound, 18 minutes.)

to believe

I believe in black pepper. In burning leaves inside my house: sage, mugwort, cedar. I believe in magic.

I believe in transformational moments, gateways, portals, hidden cupboards and secret gardens. I believe in layers upon layers of what is real.

I believe in my digging hands and in the ways I listen to animals. I believe walking barefoot makes me happier, or less sad.

Floodwaters will cleanse us all. I believe in water's edge. I believe in discovering forgotten language, driving all night to get there, pictures of people painted on cave walls, I believe in bats.

I believe in walking it off. Listening to other people's stories until I can think of a new way to tell my own. I believe in grapes after the first frost, whiskey straight up and slow.


I believe in kissing in restaurant booths and up against the wall and under a tree. I believe in trees. Moss and stones and dirt and mud. Avalanche earthquake tsunami hurricane tornado forestfire flashflood rabiddog.

I believe in black bears crossing invisible lines and coyotes trotting through the neighborhoods. Shooting stars, listing docks, baby birds learning to fly.

Owls falcons hawks eagles. I believe in fish as big as my arms spread out and also in the critters rushing my bloodstream that I will never see. I believe in amoeba and protons and dark matter and dust.

I believe in the things you say and I also know enough to believe the things you don't say.

I believe in rings inside a tree and heart-shaped rocks and falling asleep when I'm tired.

I believe in fucking until I can't breathe and then diving deeper until I can't see. I believe in coming back up for air and new prescription lenses.

I believe in atrophy and regeneration. Death, rebirth, liminal spaces.

I believe you when you say the thing and when the door closes on you at the airport.

I believe you when you say the thing and drive away, our dog in the front seat excited to go.

I believe you when you give birth to that baby, when you stand at the edge with me and point out the whales.

I believe in footprints in the snow and antler scrapings and the furtive burrowing of brown furry blind things.

I believe in bears reaching into holes to find honey. I believe in sticky paws and bumble bees and blue summer skies.

I believe in the northern lights and solar flares and that some planets have rings.

I believe in driving fast on country roads, singing along and windows left open.

I believe in rolling over to wake up alone, and I believe in listening to you snore. I believe in underwater caves and calderas and tectonic shifting.

I believe in holding hands and walking with my eyes closed.

I believe in parking on the side of the road to have the talk, to tell the secrets, to sit quietly with my hand on your knee.

I believe in watching you dance and rubbing oil into your knuckles and calling out your name 3000 miles away.


I believe in love letters and canceled stamps and whale songs and bird songs and the song you make up while you're washing the dishes.

I believe in spiced foods and salt and lemon zest and chili on my chocolate.

I believe in standing at the edge for as long as is necessary and I believe in falling, flying, and walking away.

Hot air balloons, orange pickup trucks, gravel roads, kudzu vines and trap doors.

I believe in sleep walking, sleep talking, and love.

I believe in saying yes, repeating stories until I get it right, propping the door open, letting moss grow over the path stones.

I believe in words spray painted on sidewalks, brand new birds' nests and lightning-split trees.

I believe in magic and miracles and fairies and elves and goblins and trolls and wizards and witches. Hobbits, Voldemort, centaurs, giants, bogeymen, shadows, light, and heartbreak.

I believe in what hasn't happened yet, and the color blue and lupines growing up the side of the hill. Gratitude, generosity and forgiveness.


two parts:
(freewrite: list what you doubt, list what you believe: 14 minutes)
(freewrite: what women know about love: 14 minutes.)