Hour 14, Prompt 14 – Apology to the Plant Kingdom

I apologize 

 

for my part in it

for when I was absorbed with myself

and I forgot to pay attention to you

for when I misused your generosity

and took more than was given

 

I apologize 

 

for any harm done to our relationship

if I have ever stepped on you

or placed you in a situation I knew you would not like

or blocked the sunlight from your face

or disrespected you in any way

 

I am sorry

You are very clear

Moving forward, I will listen

I will honor you

 

So, to those who take care of us

And to those who tend them now

And to those who tended them before

And to the hands that will tend them in the future

 

Thank you for your nourishment

Thank you for your protection

Thank you for your shade

Thank you for your love

Thank you for your healing

Thank you for your medicine

 

Ashe.

 

Inspired by Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer, who writes — ‘In some Native languages the term for plants translates to “those who take care of us.’ Kimmerer is an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.

Hour 13, Prompt 13 – Happy Accidents

I’ve lived on the second floor
of someplace or another since 20, 10 and 4
Each day, I would find myself traversing the stairs to the outside world
Running halfway down in a dream, body hurled,
only to notice my near-sightedness
and rewinding
just to miss the bus
an ever-transpiring malady
to retrieve my glasses or my keys
before the door slams shut behind me
And at night I’d twist one big toe in a semi-circle in front of me
finding my way in the dark
practicing ballet
Doing pirouettes for the fool moon

I didn’t really consider the utility of stairs until
I couldn’t take a step on my own and my broken foot swelled
Suddenly, my ankle refused to support me through this transitory space
between the places
that held my life
I crawled from the bed excited to use the bathroom
so I could see a different color paint, I tried to escape,
In my bed, I would dream of Scotty beaming me up and out
anywhere, but this sinkhole my body had dug into the mattress
Stuck like a cold tile in grout

Ask me where I go when I can’t
When there’s nowhere left to hide
I tunnel inside of myself, out of rebuttals to delay
Pulling back the sheets I’d thrown over the furniture of my truth
to keep it from getting dusty while I was away
Sweeping out the cobwebs
Recycling the beer cans
And moving back into the heart I had left lonely
My spirit suddenly and boldly
thankful for that moment when I fell
down and went boom
so I could make the room
to begin to see
that there’s always been more waiting for me
casting off the illusion that this was accidental
Depression and seclusion kept me hurting and distant
From my best version
I’m unearthly and my birth anointed by the sun
appointed by a jinn nonchalantly looking up from a newspaper to say,
“Welcome in. I have been waiting for you. What do you wish?”

I want to learn to walk before I run

Hour 12, Prompt 12 – First, harvest

She brought it all inside in a large basket

The first harvest was all she hoped for

Taking each eggplant and pepper up

And cleaning the flesh between her soft hands

 

The water scattered earth around the sink

And ran down in a little stream from her elbow

As she popped a sweet, yellow cherry tomato 

into her mouth and daydreamed of a dinner party

 

She would decorate the dining room

With strings of lights draped from curved branches

And tealights and wildflowers on the table  

Not knowing who would come to fill the space

Hour 11, Prompt 11 – Quest

The first psychic I’d ever met told me about her once
leaning slightly forward across a table
to touch my hand lit by a sunbeam
she began to paint an old, old story
 
A wise priestess seated in the middle of a circle
speaking power to women on what it was to heal
then, she said, you simply disappeared
 
She reported that you left me some divine treasure
but you left me no map or course to follow
it seems so long ago that I heard this story about you
 
Since then, I have gone about my business
traveling through the air and over mountains
from one side of the continent to the other
only thinking about you every now and then
 
I’d almost put you out of my mind
when you appeared to me, this time
in a flowing orange dress with bell sleeves
radiating light in a city of rainbow roses
and wearing my face coming to tell me
that I have been finding my way to you all along

Hour 10, Prompt 10 – Listening

I used to pride myself

in the bold statement

that I had no interest

in Cat Stevens

 

To me 

he was in the oeuvre

of middle-aged white men

toting acoustic guitars

and singing droopy songs

 

One day

annoyed by my hollow decrees

my partner sat me down

and made me listen

to “Father & Son”

 

Rather than whining

there was an inverted echo 

between the old and the young:

the old have gone and now must stay

the young have staid and now must go

 

I thought I’d heard Cat Stevens

But I was listening to Yusef Islam

Before he left

and turned into himself

Hour 9, Prompt 9 – 2,863 mi

What a strange work of deception it was

To think that some mask I put on long ago 

to hide away my pain 

would take me so far from home

 

Can I ask you, in the lethargic heat of a Virginia summer,

To catch a bottleful of zooming fireflies

And hold them up to the screen

So I can see them dance?

Hour 8, Prompt 8 – A Dream of Wildcats

 

Come, wildcat! Come, tiger!

Courageous and strong

They stand on hind legs

And join in the song 

 

Of cedar, doug fir, maple, and pine 

To the canopy, their roars rise higher

to a river of starlight above fragrant woods

they play and leap a dance ‘round the pyre

 

Lost in a trance and well rapt in dreaming

I hold out my hand to some startling phantasm

And see 

that it is as real as I am

Hour 7, Prompt 7 – Season of the Changing Winds

Season of the Changing Winds

 

She has heard your heart before you

and understood what it has whispered

You will feel her on the breeze

That quickly comes big sister

 

Decisions that you’ve yet to make

when she is on her way

Will be escorted to the grave

The thrumming of the crimson king will say

 

She comes dancing righteous rage

to cut deceptions grown too tall

with beloved machetes gleaming

Her strike will heal it all

 

And with a word she clears the way

Stand back and watch the tearing winds descend

To let you know you cannot stay

She is the season on the changing winds

Hour 6, Prompt 6 – Let Me Be

Just for today

let me be

a roaming purr hunting 

through a nest of buttery softness

incited only by the idea of being

bitten by something 

acidic and confectionary

to sweeten the petition

on my lips:

 

May words bloom flowers

May a honeyed tenor lull the afternoon

May Baldwin preach artistry

May Nina know how it feels to be free

May Billie’s summer fruit be forever familiar and sweet

May dreams come true

 

Let this silk robe

this porch-side paradise be all there is 

as unknown insects quiver in the noontide

 

Let the dense milky clouds break 

spilling golden yolk

beautifully over all of it

 

Just for today

Let me be

Hour 5, Prompt 5 – Mountain View

I saw

two beings

not of this world

stand on the peaks

of twin mountains glaring 

eyes fixed on each other and yelling

and bleating out in shrill voices

my human mind wondering

what could incite this 

wretched animus

in pure beings

in the valley

gathered

more

still

watching

these duels

I began to fear

that the world behind

ours was about to break until

then the two turned their little heads

to excitedly explain simply that

they were shouting in joy

because they were together

and it had just been play 

an ancient game

that can last

a long

time