From basket deep

Clamboring, chiming, turning inside out for lack of space

Urging in one cold grey wave of fur and teeth

Lolling tongues, hot breath, slobber and frenzy

From a distance, life resembles a dark river

Cutting through early frost, hungry for warmth

And I think of the man who paints this bleeding scape

Of land into water and flesh undulating, back to earth

I wonder if he knows better than us, how close we are to one or the other

By just a pinch of his ink stained fingers, held up

To guage perspective, before he dips his brush and renders

This mist of mouths, graves and birth and sour roots, twisting through

Surviving even as skies douse and sun bakes flat, yet beneath myriad

A soup of souls closing and opening by ritual of tide

And still, life, clops down the cobbled street, hawking seasons from basket deep.

(Inspired by FEDERICO GARCÍA LORCA, especially the line, han venido los perros de plomo.)

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Mercy

Though we were afraid
We stood

Though we trembled

We reached

Though we feared falling

We let go

Though you are far 

You caught me

Though you were struggling

You held on

Though we both felt we couldn’t

We did

And the light that bathed our rebirth

Was a mute white

And the song in our mouths

Was of gratitude

And my loved ones passed over

Clambored from their soil and Ash

As beautiful as children again

Clasping my empiness 

They claimed me anew

Standing on the bridge

One side darkness and dusk

Extinguisher of all I was

The other side golden 

You have been so missed they chorused

And at first I couldn’t bear the feeling

Surging in me like a hundred hands

But they held firm, did not let me run, did not excuse me

No death did not stop us

No life is not meant to be half lived

One foot peering over the edge

And when the bird

Red breasted and full

Flew into my room and cast his burning glow

I lifted from my expiry

I left there on the bed

My tears

My certainty of nothing

And light as a dream 

Flew outside

Feeling as if the very first

The pinch of fresh air

Brighten grey

Banish terror

Unplug disease

Renew hope

Lifting their hands to heaven

All those I thought lost

Remind me anew

You are so loved

Cone back to life

Cross the bridge

Watch isolation fade

As a dark ship will receed in fog

All was but a dream

This hand in yours

This family forsook

You are still standing

Even as landscape burned

Your strength found 

In the deep roots of a patient tree

Invulnerable to life’s petty whim

Endure and overhead

Watch the season turn on her slim ankle

And fill us with color

I have been waiting all this time

For permission to breathe deeply

And exhale 

Letting go of fear and the unknown

For those who are never lost

Keep us tethered to the living 

Even as they cross

To wonderment