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.)

leave me to pray

you know. you know.

you know, as far as your eyes can see. you know. windswept plains, cityscape, subterranean cavern, cumulus cloud, as far as your eyes can see, you know. the i-5 corridor, parking lot, hawthorne, lumbering jet, rental car.

there is ice forming. long thick forearms of ice bulging from the eaves. blue sky, grey sky, night sky, northern lights. northern lights. new planets, dying planets, ringed, space debris. you know. you know. polar bear, flock of geese, girl child with frog hat, red cheeks, it's so cold. paw prints, snow. branch bending bending and you know.


this horizon. this landscape. build me a shack and leave me to pray. fly me to the moon. take my hand. kiss me in the rain. smile at me like i am the most special thing you've seen all day. build me a shack and leave me to pray.

leave me to pray holy holy and thank you god and thank you mother and thank you swirling planets, unfurling plants, bear tracks, blue sky, thank you.

leave me to pray and i will turn my head east for rising sun, south for dark shadow noon. turn my head west and i will prepare for sleep. leave me to pray and i will turn, every time, i will turn north and say thank you thank you thank you for this gift of facing death and trusting in my rebirth. every time, i will turn my face north and trust in my rebirth.

you will know me then, upon my rebirth, and you will know me then, you will know me then.

build me a shack and leave me to pray. face toward the sun, moon, shooting stars. you will know me by the iron honey of my my rebirth. you will know how desolate the landscape.

(freewrite: you will know how desolate the landscape, 14 minutes)

never was a little girl

I've lost the box of my growing-up pictures.

little .JPG

There's the possibility I might knock over some box somewhere in this process of moving. I might knock over a box and find the secret hole in the floor where this most important of boxes has fallen. Or maybe I will find the story of its disguise. For now, though, I am preparing for a fresh loss of memory.

Saying goodbye to this house. The fruit trees: plum apple fig. The blackberries. The birds. The view from the bedroom. Love. Saying goodbye to this short walk shorter drive. This home of trying so hard. Of leaving. Of staying. Splitting open shrinking down. That hummingbird. The peregrine falcon she insists I did not see. The raccoons the opossum. That mouse last week. The geese (good morning, girls.) The stranglehold brambles. I will bring the hammock with me, but where will it go? Show my bloody fingers and take a deep breath.

I strike the pose. Mug for the camera. Come too. Come with me.

There are so many ways to tell this story.

(journal entry, 2008)