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a heart of flesh, for stone

a heart can turn to stone—and it does

lay inert, without wonder

for anyone singing of love, complaining of loss

 

stone does not respond to flesh and blood

 

yet, we tell our stories to the stone, over and over

it listens, without wonder

 

until enough stories are told and heard, heard and told

that the stone begins to recall its start in the heart of a man or woman

 

over time, words reveal water falling and the stone

begins to speak, telling its own story, claiming back

the heart buried, unearthed, resurrected,

moved

she hated the cold

the day they cremated Mom, I was left

in the house where she lived with my stepfather

watching minutes contort into hours, changing

the way the sun fell on November snow, remembering

her acres of flowers in the field criss-crossed

by deer, doe-eyed calm despite the alert fear

essential to staying alive under a blue-eyed sky—

the earth still clinging to my mother’s boots

standing neatly, faithful hard by the door,

neat as manicured nails searching for pieces—

her unfinished work—a 1,000 piece puzzle

the hidden age

here, below the surface

the soul does not fear growing old or going gray,

getting cold, slowing down, knowing pain

becoming a hindrance

 

here, below the surface

the soul gains ground, shines bright

brilliant in the green-blue-green auroras swirling

weightless and majestic in the sky

speeding on, heedless

of time passing the dancer who cannot, will not

stop listening to the music

The Pilgrim Poet

Startled! the pilgrim finds her way, pencil packed

to mark the progress, stops along the route planned

and unplanned

surfaces emerge to carry the weight of her words,

a table top in a hut half-way to the destination

everyone talks about over wine and bread, cheese

and other romances of the saints with the stuff of earth.

 

She kisses the doorway on the way out and onward,

stepping over a yellow, unknown dog lying full in the sun,

asleep since soon, soundly content and snoring—

 

She wrote on the surface of the table behind: she came to be

closer than before to the Voice prodding her towards,

and away from, surrender: to unload, unpack the body’s weight

of existence evidenced in items stowed (retrieved, re-stowed)—

slender things like pencils and harder ones to describe or own,

the few creature comforts clinging to her soul;

 

the soul of a pilgrim

drawn to places of slanted light and scrawled messages

left for someone else to find.

 

 

Sabbath

occupy the space you have today, set aside

the space God gives you, bids you take

and shut the door, turn off the lights, ignore

the intruding voice of all you lack, must have

for one whole day believe—in this time and place—

you have all you need, say it loud enough to hear

in a day defined by lack: without verbs take it back

declutter

let the burden fall

in your belly, the fire die down—

forget about the mess, those boxes, that pile

in the basement creeping up stairs after dark,

growing strange

 

surrender the jumble of your soul

systems unable to sustain a quiet heart

in the midst of many drums pounding

 

let the song breathe in time for you