Across the River

As of today, nearly 250 of the children abducted by the Trump/Sessions/Miller policy of family border separation remain in detention camps and facilities, months after the debacle occurred.

I carried my bones across the river and into the arms of the border patrol.
I laid my child in the hollow between sand-hills where she would be hidden.
I placed her in the quiet shade of a cactus where the little wren would sing to her.
I carried her on my back when the wind drove sand in our faces.
I tore her from the powerful arms of the river, and up the far bank

but now
she is lost in the long white hallways,
lost in the echoing rooms.
The vultures have carried her bones
to a far-off place
and all I can hear
is the screaming of sirens.

The sound fills up my bones.
There is no color but sound,
no feeling but the wailing of sirens,
the screeching and scraping,
the fierce clang of doors,
the cold bars of cages.

I carried my child to the river and now I am empty sky filled with ash.
My bones have turned to ashes and my dreams have fled
across the desert like birds.

There is nothing in this hollow place but sirens and slamming doors and questions,
the godawful questions–and a wailing that will not be silenced.

The gods have all died, blown across the sands like so much ash,
fled deep into soil like the water that has gone from this place.
Mother Mary, who sheltered us, is cast into a cage
and her child is walking alone in the maze of hallways
where she cannot reach him.

Where now is the mother?
Where is the child?
Where is the voice that will call to me
through this cacophony?

Where is the map through this desert?
Where is the red thread to follow in the wilderness?

The end is here.
The end is here.
The end is here.
And all the little birds have flown beyond the river.

I carried my bones across the river and the waters did not close about me.
I carried my child through the desert and now my story has ended.
The ashes swirl and eddy in the wind, borne into the raging arms of the river.

This is the end.
This is the end.
This is the end.

Gratitude List:
1. Making time to get some of this angst into a poem. I can breathe a little better.
2. Magical, prayerful acts. Granny squares have a really satisfying rhythm of threes: the steps of a double crochet are threes, and there are three double crochets in each set. Threes are good for the rhythm of prayer/chant.
3. How laughter helps me to breathe
4. The angle of autumn sunlight
5. Solitude

May we walk in Beauty!

Setting the Story Free

This is the April Poetry Month Poet-Tree from 2014.  It took quite a bit of maintenance, even when I did not have a full-time job, so I haven’t done it for a couple years, but I think of it every year.

I am pulling words out of a paragraph I wrote a couple years ago, and beginning my poem with them.  This, then, becomes a poem about a poem.  I am not brooding so intensely today as I was when I wrote these words the first time.

Here are the words,
tossed out of my brooding heart,
flung out of this boat of me.
Perhaps I’ll breathe more freely
if I can set this story free.

The poem may begin to bend those bars,
make the space for breathing,
find that one breach in the ceiling
that lets the sky coming rushing in.

Catch the flotsam if you can,
salvage whatever floats to you on the waters.
Craft an altar, build a temple,
delineate the space to walk a labyrinth.
Shape the bones of the poem
to the space that suits your need.
Cry or bleed, worship or wait,
and send the remnants onward
for another stranded spirit.

Gratitude List:
1. Yesterday morning’s wonderful music
2. Interfaith dialogue.  All we can learn from each other.
3. The sane and reasonable voices
4. Contemplative poets: Rumi and Hafiz, O’Donohue and White, Oliver and Harjo and Levertov
5. The web, the basket, the bowl–images and symbols

May we walk in Beauty!