Take the end of the root and
squeeze. Air is not wind or
a wave. Gazing into the darkest of eyes,
needs forgotten in the tale
of becoming something more than shape,
someone more than someone who rocks
in despair or madness.
I held you with my
mind and in my arms, held you broken and stoic
as all dangerous dreams. I was afraid to tell you
but I told you anyway and the song grew into a sunset.
Eaten by gravity, blurring in potency as it traveled
past the horizon. I saw
you were the willow tree, the pine tree and the birch
that scattered leaves and seeds throughout the large acreage yard.
I was a raccoon, a beetle bug and a tiny bird.
I moved through you, across you,
made my home inside of you. Can you see
how much of what was mine depended on yours?
When the yard caught on fire,
the fire seeped into my joints, extending into my aura
and all your seeds around me of brown and green.
Not a single day when I did not fight to keep your will and commands,
not a day without struggle to keep afloat, keep at bay the urge to
sink or draw the ravenous sharks near and nearer until
they touched – fin against my flesh and then something
You love me you say, but it is a love
I cannot understand. I know it is a love, colossal, ruthless
in its perfection but it hurts like withholding, hurts
as I try to adore you and be absolved by a mutual tenderness.
You are final and in this I have no say. I love you, but we are not
dancing. I trust you, but we are not
sharing with ease. I am left aching, in sharp
icicle-tip-pounding-lack, struggling to make sense and find “the law”
if there is no mercy to be seen.
I should be lucky to know you even as I do, as most
walk the Earth without discovering a trace of your existence.
But is there something new for us?
Is there a bouquet around the corner? A line we can cross and keep
on the other side? I give you my wings, my prints
and all of my sacred stones. Take me
into your softness or leave me here
on these barren sharp ridges. Between us,
there are no secrets, even my children
are freely yours.
© 2018 by Allison Grayhurst
Published in “Chicago Record Magazine” March 2018
You can listen to the poem by clicking below: