Layered

I glance at the dead squirrel by the curb
and think of sparrows …
falling.
God sees the little sparrow fall,
It meets His tender view;
If God so loves the little ones,
I know He loves me, too.

We are layered, like the crumbling red rock
cliffside with paths
by the creek of my childhood,
like the flat chunks of 
shale scavenged by my parents 
to create the high backyard wall.

We are layered,
DNA and birth order threaded through
the earth of our birthplace,
the winds and rains of our times,
the maps our minds draw
to trace our path to the barriers
that contain us.

We are layered
wearing rock-filled backpacks
we strain blindly to reach into,
trying to pull out 
the easy changes hidden
and twinned with
the deep-rooted invasive
infective twists.

We are layered:
the work of living
tripping us, shackling
our hopes for freedom
and joy,
as we pray for the tender view
of a sparrow-watching God.

When I Lost Myself

dead orchids

When I lost myself:
I am extinct.
No part of me goes forward. 
I am ashes
Underground.

My stories silenced.
My mutating memories
dismissed.
My sorrows and joys erased:
blankness bracketing grief.

When I First Returned
My death still bled
into a suppurating
numbness,
and terror.

It didn’t feel like a choice:
study the wound
or disappear.
I agreed to look.

Now
I stand beside the river
I came from and will return to; 
I look into it,
still learning to swim.

The Memory of Smoke

Suburban construction

The burn of the morning sun,
the memory of smoke
soften my shoulders
as I walk past,

not thinking of death 
yet,
till
one almost resembling
the one I knew
(years ago, in my youth),

walks by, and 
my memory blurs
as though I see through tears.

“I Am”

Eye, glasses, hair

Remnants of other lives
invade, infest, infuse my life,
enlighten me, cling to me. 
drag me down, lift me up,
surround me. 

I persist 
pushing the furniture 
of my past,
clearing space
so I can see.

We Are Temporary

We are temporary,
fragile and vulnerable,

compelled to walk forward
in this dark culvert,

death ahead and daylight behind,
with only a small light, and

everything that we are.

***

*Composed after watching “Cardinal”, a series based on Giles Blunt’s Novels