Everywhere a Ceremony: Poems on Rituals


~

On a bathroom floor that is not my own, a silent wail--
face red, split open like the drought of the earth drinking rain,
veins of my neck and arms awakened pythons, 
water breaths through parted lips, 
open palms to sky I send: “All of me is aching," and, "How do I manage this with honor?”
A conversation felt. Another wave, another shore.
I wash my face with cold water. 
I rub ylang ylang into the soft patch of skin behind my ears. 
My chest is lighter than when I walked in.
I do it all again a few hours later.


~

Standing over oil hot, gathering, stirring—-
keep it warm in the oven, time it just right. 
On my toes to reach a plate for you, a plate for me. 
A dance of companionship, the broth just the way it was
when you said it was the best soup you think you've ever had. I made a mental note then, 
of what I did in that pot, 
to be sure I did it just like that 
again. 

~

I run the water hot and bless the salt I scatter into the tub. I take a book of poems from the shelf that salves, a crystal for the place that asks, a candle for what needs to burn. I glide into the water like it has been wanting to hold me all season. My ears submerged, I listen to my heart’s drum, my breath, the droplets of water from the drain, my stomach’s movements. I sing and read and stare at the glow of flame on the tiles. I remember I am more spirit than body.





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