Posts Tagged ‘ritual’


for Kayleen

As the tide rose and the waves grew nearer,
she took a stick and drew in the sand
a small labyrinth. In the center
she placed a dried tangle of roots,
some sodden gray feathers,
and the broken open shells of oysters.
White stone at the entrance.
Warm sun on our skin.
On the short path, we wrote with a stick
the names of people and places we longed to heal.
All around us the whirling of dark sea birds
seeking higher places to land.
All around us the sound of waves crashing on rocks,
sound of cliffs slowly eroding into sand.

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She carries a vase
of delphiniums and daisies
and I carry a tune
and we toss them all
like wishes
into the river.
Some wishes
are more beautiful
for knowing they will never
come true.
When we are done
we hold hands in the twilight
and watch the last
of the flowers float
in the shimmering eddies.
This is the moment
I would not have known
to have wished for.
I lean into this moment.

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Somehow the body knows what it needs.
Like how, minutes after the change of the year,
I find myself in the hot shower washing off
the old year’s skin with a violet sugar scrub.
I didn’t plan to scrape away the self
that no longer fits, but here I am,
sharp crystals in hand, my everywhere
feeling the tingle, the thrilling sting of the new.
What magic a simple ritual can do.
Can’t change the losses, no,
but I feel surprisingly willing to meet it all
as I step lighter, softer, back into the world.

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my mother began my mornings

by singing to me “it’s going to be

such a lovely day”—

over thirty years later

I still believe her

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After the smudging of desert sage,
after the wearing of white,
after breaking and eating the bread,
after chanting the Sanskrit words,
after dancing in a circle,
after the secret handshake,
after the incense, the bell,
the candles, the cushion

I sit wherever I find myself
and notice how there
is nowhere that is not
an altar.

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