In the months after the worst days of my grieving
I went to hear the story of a questing man’s walk
into our country’s deep woods
and our tawny tea stained ravines
lit by owls’ wings and moths’ wings.
Everywhere he walked he was
amazed by his fragile breath
and the beauty of wet fields
held tenderly by fog and the shining auburn
coat of the fox who watched everything.
I was all invisible aches and pains.
When I closed my eyes I saw shooting stars
blooming like flowers into the inky well
behind my eyelids.
The evening was intended to be highly interactive.
And so I shared my hopes and dreams with a stranger.
Then our group formed two circles
that faced each other one inside the other
and one by one we met in the radiating orb
at the edges of our skin
palm to palm and staring
intimately into the eyes of the other.
I nearly died
I like to get to know a little
the person whose soul I’m about to
enter via their pupils
for the purposes of an invasion like this
dark ships and the iridescent iris
an undulating light spark
of miniscule fish
It’s not to say I couldn’t ever get there
get to the shore from where I’m standing
through the eyes of a stranger.
I just need something to hold onto
in times like these.
Guard rails or
A year later,
another group event.
As a safety measure beforehand
I incanted the prayer for
no palm to palm I love you
grief torn stranger eye locking
chasm bridging of our
collective inner everythings.
And still. There I was
faced with it again:
an invitation to expose myself
to a complete stranger.
This one had
faint traces of star
dust on her upper lip
and she, with some hesitation at first
told me how she had
one day many years ago
in a defining moment
looked through the microscope
at the crystalline molecules of a lilac bud,
the common lilac splayed open on the glass slide
to reveal what looked to her like
the prismatic wings of
thousands of microscopic angels
of such profound beauty
it changed the trajectory
of the rest of her life.
I wasn’t sure I wanted to
but in response I told her
if you were to splay me open
examine a smear of the real me
under a high powered microscope
you would find
each cell a tiny field, a wooded meadow
To the fog: Hold me. Tenderly
with your fingers of mist and your muted light.
Take me home to you and only let me out as
drops of dew on the pointy blades of new grass.
To the incandescent lilac: If I breathe you in will my brain
be full of the flutter and froth of your angel wings?
Tinier and quieter than a procession of ants’ hearts.
To the silvery moths’ wings: Do not hold me back. Pour a little of this
love like ink into a bottle so I can become
the holy letter between two lovers sanctify
their vow to take the night all the way in squeeze me
like a greasy tube of Prussian blue
onto the canvas of their nighttime intertwining
love as art making love as fruit and feverish joy.
To the auburn coated fox: Show me how to walk back from the edge
of doubt and buzz in the meadow ablaze with buttercups ` and little yellow roses courted by drunken bees.
I said to her,
into her moated eye gleaming with fish:
If you can, cure the ache in me
(with your listening).
If you can’t, okay
please be kind.