from an evolving collection, Stirrup of the Sun & Moon
I am chasing a new placid order.
Behind a gray wall,
faint thunder in the distance,
this heart is no longer defeated from grieving.
I had been drinking from a two-handled cup:
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.
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.
Though the day is crisp, and sunlight drips down onto everything,
all light has left my world and I cannot possibly remain.
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.
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.
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 an invisible embrace.
(c) 2019 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com
image: Antelope Canyon / Tom Gainor