Salome

They called her hair windswept when it blew across her face. Salome’s mother always said it reminded her of a wise woman, walking along a shore. Her baby, bound for greatness. Salome’s mother always told her she could do anything, be anything, sky’s the limit. I guess Salome took her seriously. You could often find her walking along ledges, arms spread wide. Everyone thought it was to steady herself, but now it seems maybe she was doing something else. Practicing, testing her limits.

It was a neighbor who spotted Salome first, slowly making her way up the top of the cliff. He saw it from the edge of the village where they lived.

Ital was sitting on his rooftop, warm clay beneath his hands and feet as he leaned against the edge, pulling on a hand rolled cigarette. He watched Salome’s slow progress up till she reached the cliff’s zenith. He thought to call for someone, Salome’s mother perhaps… but when Ital heard the voices below, he realized that he needn’t bother. Already the villagers had begun to gather. Some shouted and pointed excitedly, while others murmured prayers and judgements.

Salome’s mother was among them. She didn’t seem as bothered as he would have expected. Though she did have a calm sort of concern about her, steady like a river. When her eyes found and fixed on her daughter, they remained there, unmoving.

Salome took a deep breath. Then she took another, and another. Closing her eyes, she began to center herself. She knew everyone in the village thought she was mad. Even across the distance she felt them waiting, judging, felt their eyes on her. Taking a deep breath, she sat.

The sun rose in the sky, it burned hot and persistent against her dark skin and she welcomed it. Salome had always found that the sun opened her up, connected her to the world around her. She thought of the Sun as one of her lovers, it provided for her a spiritual, sensual experience.

A breeze picked up on the cliff, carrying the smell of dust and dried grass and wildflowers up from the valley below. Salome inhaled deeply, savoring each breath, letting go.

The sun had set. Salome noticed only after she opened her eyes and found stars glittering over the village. Some of the villagers who gathered earlier had since set up tiny makeshift camps. A handful of blazing fires raged haphazardly in the mouth of the valley. She imagined they were cooking food on them, making love by them, drinking wine off one another, dancing and laughing. She felt the threat of jealousy tug at her chest.

Salome could hear the drums. Could feel their beat thrum through her body. She wondered distantly when the music began, it trembled the earth beneath her, Gaia’s heartbeat. Lightning bugs danced around her and crickets added their notes to the drummers’ song.

When Salome stood up again, the moon was glittering over the valley, making playful shadows among the rocks and creatures below. Things scuttled and scurried making patterns in the dirt. She could still smell it on the air, sweet and clean, like after a heavy rain. The dirt felt cool beneath her feet, it grounded her. Salome took one step, then another, until she was at the very edge of the cliff.

Then, she leapt.

Open Adoption

I used to check the mailbox every day

looking for something with my name

written in loose cursive,

with a Georgia postage stamp

telling me you love me

I dream of that mailbox

barren and sad, creaky door

flaccid flag, with nothing inside

I dream of ups drivers and big brown parcels,

just for me

I read your letters

to my mother

the woman who raised me

I hear the pain in your hand

when you ask why she doesn’t write

I’m sorry she didn’t write

I’m sorry for what was stolen from us

I’m afraid you’ve died

I look up your name in the obituaries online

like a ritual

So many have died

None are your age

It’s mothers day and my dreams say

I have repressed rage

I always thought it was a super power

Being able to stash it away, but

now there is only pain

and feeling afraid

My dreams tell me

I can’t live this way

Hazy.


The other night I was sitting at the bar

Talking to a person who I am seeing, but not dating
Because these days, that actually makes a difference

We were talking about the space in between
Where thoughts happen and where they occur

What I mean is, the thought that inspires the thing
And the place where that thing becomes itself

Which is the truth?
Where is the truth?

The truth is in the space between

Which we will never fully grasp
Never quite see or catch
Hazy, but
It is also in the beginning and ending
Truth lives in all three
Birth and death
Life being, of course, the space between

What we can’t see
Where we can’t see

I dreamt I went shopping the other night
I was walking down the aisles of a grocery store
The light was bright, garish
Overwhelming

I couldn’t find what I was looking for
I can never find what I am looking for

I’m the type of person who has difficulty lighting a cigarette
Always standing in the wind, stifling the flame
I strike the flint once, twice, three times before shifting
Positions

Trying again.

Things an Adopted Child Learns:

I can’t make you want me

I can’t make you love me

27 years of learning breaks open in my chest

A seed was planted twenty-seven years ago

I just ripped it from my breast

It’s covered in blood and gristle,

It’s rough to the touch and has a foul stench

I need to cut out the branches, they’re woven around my ribs and heart and that little light in the center of me, I like to call my soul

Maybe I’ll set it aflame,

Cauterize the wounds even as the tree burns

As it turns to ash in my throat, cleansing my speech with it’s smoke, making space in my heart and around my lungs.

I think I’ll put it in a jar. Place it on my altar. 

A reminder, to make sure I keep the fire burning.

Chest Deep

Distance is strange

I forget how I feel,

If I feel

 

Everything seems more romantic

or more dramatic

than it is

 

Things get lost in translation

we get lost in translation

the space between what is and what has been

 

Is murky

I wade through it

and at times there is no light

 

Just me, chest deep in our history

trying to feed the flame of our passion

I see you up ahead

 

A silhouette

lined in golden ember

at times, it seems all I do is follow you

 

Then I look back and see you there

I wonder how I could have missed you

where was I when you passed me unseen?

 

This murk must end

we must find our way through,

until then?

 

I’ll wade in this space between

Chaos is Order 

My mind is getting chaotic again
The evidence sits around me

in piles of clothes and pages and cups

of half drunk tea &coffee &beer 

scattered bits of my reality lay abandoned

in different stages of interaction

Like bouys out at sea
This is what the soul weaving looks like

This is what the soul bleeding looks like: 
Chaos

Hidden order 
Creation and destruction have a similar face

Hail from the same place

Leave me aching

In the same space
This room is getting smaller now
walls are closing in

As my mind expands

This space contracts

Pushing me deeper

into myself
deep

chaotic

wide
Like the depths of the sea
dangerous

mysterious 
It’s not enough to just

Dip a toe into the waters

Of chaos

It is necessary, for me

to become totally, utterly
Submerged 

Silly Things

What’s funny is what we leave behind

The things that we take for granted

Little things, silly things

Things which aren’t things at all but

Essential to feeling whole, complete

The feel of another’s touch

The pat of an arm, graze of a hand

Contact to remind us that we are human

Feeling creatures

Without it,

Who will remind us of the distance?

How will we know when to look back

Reach out and connect

With each other, to each other?

We are all just strings

Tethering ourselves

From past to future to present

The Vessel

Mohammed.
Resolute.
Strong.

I look into his deep, soul-ful
Eyes and marvel at the
Tales they hold.

Stories he whispers in furtive
Glances and guarded words.

They are stories I alone can hear
Wading in this sea of white.

This sea crashes and churns, and
My ship struggles to remain afloat,

His vessel remains undaunted – unbroken
Miles and miles it has traveled in this white sea.

I consider my ship, small and
Teetering.  Boards loose and breaking

It is not at all equipped for the journey on which it has embarked.
Mohammed’s vessel is strong,

It is armed and yes, it has some insecurities,
But it can make it to the end.

Before I begin the precarious journey home,
I bid him farewell, sounding my Horn in celebration of him.

Then slowly, I begin my return trek,                                                             This boat was made for shallow waters.

It is time for a new vessel.