bike path wisdom on a stormy day

if in your sorrow,
you peer inside yourself
and find no color,

you need only
to point your head towards the sky
and reflect its hue

where the storm
meets the blue:
that is you

-A

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To My Sister

I try so hard to protect you but you need to know the truth.
I am sorry for that day at the beach when I laughed after that stranger put his hand on my leg.
You asked me why he did that and I said he probably didn’t mean anything by it,
but instead I should have told you what I know:
that you were right to think it was uncomfortable because it was uncomfortable
and you should never question how you feel.

I wish I could make the feeling you felt that day disappear.
The truth though is that your stomach will churn like that so many times that it will start to feel routine.
You might wonder if it’s just you or if you are somehow the cause but trust me you are not,
and it will never feel better only worse:
from a boy staring at you in gym class to a man squeezing your butt on the metro home
so you get off at the next stop and walk.

I feel like I should save you from discovering these dark things.
However I am a strong believer in knowledge as power so although you’ll suffer you should know.
By recognizing these wrongs you can give voice to pain and call for society to change,
but it will definitely not be easy:
mostly women will come to the meetings and the discussions will be mostly male panels
just remember “mostly” used to be “all”.

-L

Memory No. 1

This is a memory I will continue to recall until I turn it sour.

You made me tea in the morning.
Blizzard outside
Chill inside
Sleepy and hungover
Sore throat
Sad to leave,

You made me tea in the morning
And mixed it with milk like it was a habit.

Tea is cozier than coffee.
Coffee forces you to wake up quickly.
Tea lets you wake up slowly
Or puts you to sleep,
Lets you sit for hours and share secrets
Or just a look –
The look I gave you over the rim of your mug:
Love.

I forget that you left me at the train stop.
I rode all the way home alone for the last time.

The milk in the tea made it sweet,
But my tears tasted salty.
Sour.

-L

the question

do you remember when
you laid me down, softly
under the open sky
your body pressed against me
holding me down and
keeping me warm

from there, my back pressed against the sandy earth,
your loose hair tickling my cheeks
i could see
the desert night sky unfolding
the stars and planets,
like a blanket laid on top of us
*
ellie says that love is a question
that begs to be answered
day after day

it is a commitment, not certainty
that we choose

the question, the answer
a ritual
*
i’d be lying if i said
i’m not scared

and always, I am looking for
a neatly put-together set of
directions

but there is give and take,
ebb and flow
winds that chisel and change

and we do not remain the same
*
we change, we grow
you there, and I, here

we make plans
together, and apart

and we ask ourselves the question
day after day

I ask the question today
and inside, amidst the uncertainty
my answer is
yes

-A

Religion

My body is my temple
Because I use it to pray.

I always worship in the morning
When I wake to warm sun on my face
By stretching my arms back high above my head
And groaning with gladness in my bed.

Sometimes I whisper a silent prayer
When I wake in the dark to rainfall
By listening to the tapping on the pane
And counting all I have yet to gain.

Every day I touch the hand of God
When I first hit wood, grass or pavement
By savoring the feel of earth on bare feet
And grounding myself with nature’s beat.

In winter I shake with fear and awe
When I am surrounded by beauty
By purifying my soul with the white snow
And urging negative thoughts to go.

In springtime I sing of nature’s joy
When I see everything in bloom
By breathing deep the scent of flowering life
And filling my lungs with joy not strife.

In summer I listen for the call
When the long night is quiet and still
By closing my eyes to the cicadas’ sound
And finding truth in their constant pound.

In autumn I walk by faith not sight
When the leaves turn to vibrant colors
By crushing them in the long shadow I cast
And knowing nothing is meant to last.

Most nights I end the day with yoga
When the moon rises to greet the stars
By meditating on all that I have seen
And emptying til I am serene.

My body is my temple
Because I use it to pray.

-L

did you know

woman,

did you know you are much more than
the brittle bones beneath your skin?
than the sun’s illuminated freckles
splashed across the bridge of your nose?

and that each time you cry out,
the stars remain
burning through
the night sky,
if only for you to
stand at peace with
yourself?
*
digging
through the dirt

stuck in my nails
thick on my skin,
my scalp
*
the truth sought after
the colors of
a spring wind storm in the desert
the smell of bread dough rising

dust, flour
dirt
grit between my fingers
inhaling

and i’m digging
and i’m digging
*
the process toward peace is,
they say,
a lengthy one

i’ll sit patiently
listen to her tell me her woes
tell her i love her
speak of her knowledge and
inner beauty

when i look in the mirror,
though
i tell her
to shut up
and get on with it
*
woman,
did you know
you are so much more than

-A