I lay on the couch so long the fabric, once brocade, faded
entirely to bone. Memory of rose and aqua, twist of
marigold. And then, not even the memory— just cross-strings,
weave blown out to dust, dull satin weeping what’s inside.
Pillows could no longer bear the weight of my grief, broken and
doubled: one half holding the necklace he chose for me—
Bastet. Cat lady, he called me from afar because he was allergic
to my mind and that I dared to live my own. He picked it
from the gift shop at The Metropolitan Museum, old Egyptian
Goddess and mystery. He saw me for a moment, and I was gold.
But should a child be cast from metal? Spring fully formed
from the father’s head, only to hunt the sky for his unrequited dreams?
That distant deity still waxes her secret light, undomesticated by Roman gods.
Or the singular one who bore down later. In the days of mourning,
the other half tried to cry but had expressed so many tears beneath his heavy hand,
no more would come. The amulet worried between whorls of my rage and my bond,
slipped into the blind place between the cushions where I lay, it seemed
for months. Where I wanted to lie for a year, curtains drawn
so that no one could look into my eyes, as they divulged how ridiculous
life appears in death: only the bereaved should glimpse that face.
May the rest be cocooned. Still able to count pears into a basket,
roller-skate birthdays, scrabble online with their dad. Until they cannot.
How can a ghost cross over if my face still remembers its physical
impact? Maybe he left that demon with me because I believe in transmutation.
His final color, yellow, still falls in my mind, petals curve a fragrant path
into the last air above his body and its box, before the dirt went in.
Neck bare, I tore the sofa apart but that gift never returned from the dark.
I mourned its loss. And then, the moon rose, full. It was time to see myself.
I am a poet & writer living on the edge of a canyon in the ancestral lands of the Northern Pomo people in Lake County, California. Each time I look out my window, I become a student of the trees whose blackened trunks and new green after wildfire demonstrate the truth of impermanence & the nature of our earthly fragility. I try not to get too doomsday about it all by remembering to breathe. My practice is to write the world that I see with the eye of my heart—that world living and breathing in the knowledge of our common humanity and vulnerability. I am currently working on a memoir about True Refuge, A Revolution of Petals In the Heart.