I. I don’t want to hear another word about how this life is painful...
And it’s not because I don’t want to know.
I just want to believe
in something different
for a while.
II. When I was young I held the
wealth of stars in my hands
and navigated and charted my days
according to which constellations rose
to the tips of my fingers
and which planets traversed my palms.
I held each day new
like a flower, not yet unearthed
or opened, delicately balanced
in the desire to reach and unfold.
My hands plunged deep into soil
to keep from straying too far
and I was amazed at how much
my tiny hands could hold.
III. This is how I imagine life would have been
if I had been taught to respect myself. Taught
that there was time and space for me
to enter and fill:
That I mattered.
IV. As a boy, his grandmother held him high
each night, above her sloping shoulders,
for him to kiss the moon
her arms would sink back into her body
and he’d cry, begging her to call down the moon
for the night, so he could tuck
into the luminous folds
of her watery skin.
When his grandmother died, he was just 15,
running from the FBI because he was Lakota,
wanting to be free.
At night, he would hide in the graveyard,
drunk on cheap brandy, talking
to the dead
no longer caring to see what lived.
His grandmother, now the softness of the wind,
stretched in the spaces
between him and the moon, kissed
him each night, branching
her body of ash
out and deep into the roots
of the willow that held him
as he slept.
V. I don’t want to hear about another tragedy
another suicide, another person losing
their way. I don’t want the image
of my friend Ralph hanging
from a basement pipe, whacked out
on cocaine, while his girlfriend washes
dishes upstairs. I don’t want to see
the moment he slipped his life
through the rope, leaving
behind only one percent of his brain
for his family to hook
to a machine.
I want to talk about love.
About some reason why we do care.
VI. This is how I imagine it could have been if we had believed in something different…
That the night
Heidi drove her car up a mountain road
and into an embankment
to be found the next morning
100 yards away, wrapped in a blanket
dead from an overdose, that someone
could have been there with her.
Not to stop her or save her
because we all know how that one goes…
But someone could have been there
just to hold her, to soothe her
in her passing.
VII. The sky I now wander
a full grown woman
is difficult to navigate
through the build up
of weather. The sun breaks
some days, too heavy to rise
and the constellations turn
inwards, not wanting to be seen.
I call to Siva often
the only dancer I know
able to hold me in balance
in a world so completely off
kilter, and I tell him I want
to be there with him
in his embrace
when he finally drops
his foot down.
Before he ends this dance
of life, I want
to somehow know
that I was guided.
That the stars and the planets
lit each step that I took.
That this earth,
with my touch:
That every space of heart
that I could have entered
I want to know it wasn’t haphazard: