Hibernation

winter edit

Across my social media, I see clips of weather radar,

the current temperature, decreasing

the wind chill,

negative

.

Everyone

in beanies, with scarves

meeting in the middle

so only their eyebrows peek out,

the one patch of fur

growing from our red, raw skin, and

does Minnesota think man

tries to dupe her with synthetic

wolf coats and bear hats

?

I wonder

if she is a little like you,

humoring herself in her unpredictability,

in man’s annual exclamations of “Why do I live here??”

Just when we think we’ve

figured you out,

you send the first snowstorm and we’ve all forgotten

how to drive.

Are we so arrogant,

these synthetic-fur-wearing-warm-blooded settlers,

that we jump our batteries

and flex our four-wheel-drives

in recognition of our superpower,

busyness

?

I wonder

if you long to be noticed

in the way

I walk out the door

and my breath momentarily

fogs the lenses over my eyes.

 

In the way

the snow lies naked and white,

a mercy-covering for fallow ground,

majestic in its glittering beauty

and quiet in its boast.

 

In the way

the sun shines brightest, clearest

the colder the temperature

falls.

 

In the way

you are sovereign over every degree

and send a bitter wind to see

if we will stop

.

And pay attention to the truth:

 

that your beauty

is revealed in adversity,

 

that you are never

in a hurry

,

that you long to quell

every fear and anxiety–

which will surface in the slowness–

with a mercy-covering like snow,

 

and

 

that you give us this day our daily bread,

the aboriginal rest

our bred-in-captivity lies can never slice

or deliver.

 

 

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Four Quarts

 

img_2393 (1)

I am
crushed
in the depths
of the winepress,
skin-split and oozing,
the best of the season’s fruit.
I am
much
trodden into
little,
four quarts.

Pour me out
as a free-will offering,
a sacrifice of faith.

I am
a wild olive vine,
sprung from flinty soil,
grafted into growth
I had nothing to do with.
Seven years
to firstfruits,
then:
bough-beaten, berry-gleaned,
the mill is a stone rolled,
both to crush
and to resurrect.
This oil press,
my gethsemane.

Pour me out
unendingly
like the jar of the widow.

I am
an alabastron
of spikenard–
your covenant of peace poured
on me,
poured back on you.
Broken seal, beheaded spout,
the anointing
of a husband,
the preparation
for burial
of all the loves I have kept
in my Samaria.

Pour me out
in consecration
of your desire,
in consummation
of your broken-rib-
and-poured-out-blood,
a free-will offering of love.

 

Flight

Through the airplane window, winking lights and rain drops.

Wing joints flex, stretch, and open.

Vibration beneath me, the ground moves, slow at first, then gathering speed.

I put my life in your hands, pilot.

The aircraft inhales and pushes away from the earth, my stomach falling away with the rushing pavement.

I feel your exhilaration, your arms snug around me, fingers intertwined with mine.

The first day of the rest of our life?

Rain smears the window and fog engulfs us with a tremulous shudder. Sometimes the ride can be a bit turbulent, but I settle in.

How is it that I can trust the pilot with this gray haze before my eyes?

He has coordinates, instruments, transmitters…tools that are unaware of inclement weather.

Your face is close to mine, watching the swirling atmosphere. A precise, infallible sight that lifts above what natural eyes can see.

The aircraft breaks 10,000 feet and shoots through the cloud bank:

Pale blue sky, and a liquid-orange bulb brightening over a runway of golden cloud.

Pink shadows flutter like opening eyelids.

You’re grinning, pleased with yourself. Pleased with me.

Breathing Gas

deep sea divver
Photo Credit

Strengthen in me contentment,
that fragile, tenuous
umbilical cord
connecting my stomach to your womb.

Three strands of heart, spirit, soul
wrapped ’round each other
like a double helix of DNA,
the double of your make-up,
Father, Son, and Spirit.

Helium, oxygen, nitrogen,
a breathing gas to dive
into the depths of my gestation,
to inhale through the tube
of your endless breath,
the secret to being content in all situations.
My confinement in you
is a smallamountofspace
for a l o n g a m o u n t o f t i m e,
and mankind has not begun
to understand what lies in the depths
of the ocean.

Does an infant know anything but need?
Anything except skin against skin
and the instinct to feed?
Even my desire to be content in you
is given by you,
like the nutrients of a mother’s body
is fed through the cord to whet
the appetite for a life outside the womb.

Is there an ache inside your stomach
like the stretching,
tautening,
and snapping
of a heartstring
after the cord is cut
and my wean is complete
and the infant can toddle off
to find contentment elsewhere?

What risk you take in Fathering
this double of your double helixes!
All those late nights knitting
the skin and freckles of my frame,
knowing what I need
and knowing I will forget,
but choosing to release me
so I can choose to come back.

In a way, contentment
is your tether to me.
Your contentment in this agitated,
kick-in-the-ribs, squalling child draws me into
contentment of you,
’til I’m subdued by the strength
of a fathomless threefold cord.

Hunger

under the greenwood tree

Teach me your language.
The child in me, wide-eyed Wonder,
is your mimicry.
My spirit is in early development
but in its prime for teachability.
How do I speak the language of heaven?

Start with taste.
I know all ten-thousand hairs
on your tongue.
Every nerve ending
regenerating
every ten days
so you can renew your taste
and see that I am good.
Your spirit has a tongue–or didn’t you know?

When you stitched this skin together
in the womb,
you used words, not thread.
The language of heaven is encoded
in my DNA.
Teach me your tongue.
Every lilt and swell,
every syllable.
Meet me
where the practice of consonants,
curling the tongue to the palate
and the pucker of lips to produce vowels,
ceases
and fluency begins.

There is a time to sew
and a time to rip out the seams
and start over.
Start with breath.
Wind that stirred life from death.
There is a time coming
when all dust will return to the earth
and the spirit of man to God who gave it.
You cannot breathe apart from me,
so you cannot speak apart from me.

Hunger.
The language you teach me?
There is a pang in my belly
eating out all other desire,
a hunger that grows
like the fanning of flames.
I am empty,
my soul cries,
Daddy, feed me!
Fill me with your Spirit-wind
and I will taste and see that you
are good.

Why do you work for that
which does not satisfy?
I am the bread of life.
Come to me,
eat and live forever.
The bread that I give for your life
is my body,
and whoever feeds on me, abides in me.
Apart from me, you can do nothing,
not even hunger.

I am depending on you.
Every breath, every pang.
Teach me
the language of heaven:
the splatter of blood poured out,
the crack of breaking bone,
you were emptied.
The gush of water overflowing,
the whoosh of wind descending,
I am filled
only to find
my taste buds have reflowered,
and I am learning the fluency
of hunger.