The Friction of Salt

 

woman at sea

Image from Shutterstock

 

Pieces of her broke in the waves,
Searching for wildness
In this place she always went to be alone.
She walked along this shore a thousand times
In the dawn and the dusk
As if they were quantities unknown,
And thus, in them, she could discover some truth,
Some faith, some charity, some hope for herself.
Who knew? It had worked before.
She’d walk toward the town with something—
Some small bit piece replenished.

Besides–
She’d always heard salt was healing,
So she figured she’d rub it in her wounds.
But bloody red and raw
She walks still wounded, broken,
Along the wildness,
Yet not touching it.
Freedom elusive.
She can not find what she lost.
Her wounds chains,
Binding her still
To things she knew illusions.
She waits for the friction of salt
To rub away the chains.
She walks toward the seals in the surf
And on toward the whales in the deep,
Searching for truth or faith or charity
In the wildness of the sea.

 

Washed

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At sunrise over water,
Remembering a dream
Of finding ecstasy
Within tears,
Things neither given
Nor felt in years,
Linked by all the fears
To form decades of a life
Lived like a stranger
In my own skin.

I have stood
Since the dawn
At this ocean’s edge
Waiting, waiting.
And now at noon
The rain begins.
Fierce pelting blows
Washing me clean
Of all I know
Or dare to dream.

For living continues
Within my own skin

Cleaning

To clean a heart and soul,
the way we clean a house:
scrub away
the grime and grease,
bleach away
the mold and mildew,
polish away
the dusty dullness,
vacuum away
dirt and dust
and leaves and grass
tracked in on muddy
dog paws,
who then shake wet fur
all over the floor,
yes, even vacuum away
all the hair shed upon the floor
by dogs and you,
then mop away
dried dirt,
straightening and organizing
as you go.

Then rest,
enjoying the gleam and shine
before opening the door
to visitors once more.
Yes, if only a soul
Could be cleaned
So very easily.

Truth

What truth is there but this?
Contained within the sand, wind,
An inky blue sapphire sea
Watching whales and seals play
As they sing their songs of joy
I listen
Their language so foreign to me
A vocabulary of rejoicing
In all that God has made
I can neither interpret nor define
Within this human construct
That it seems God forgot
Yet I seek to know
What they say
Of love
Of grief
Of play
Of joy

Saw Dust

Excuse me, please
While I sweep these words
From the floor like the saw dust they are
And toss them to the wind
To scatter in their ineffectiveness.

For nothing can be made
From such dust as this
No table, no chair
No house,
No tower, no bridge

They have no substance
To support any weight
Let them drift on the winds,
Return to earth as if sifted through,
Inconsequential as they are
Hidden in some tall, overgrown weeds
Somewhere out of sight
To rot in some organic way
Providing nutrients for soil.

At Sunrise Over Water

At sunrise over water
Remembering a dream
Within tears
Things neither given
Nor ever felt
Linked by all the fears
To form decades of a life
Lived like a stranger
In my own skin

I have stood
Since dawn
At this ocean’s edge
Waiting, waiting
To hear something of a siren’s song
And now at noon
The rain begins
Fierce pelting blows
Washing me clean
Of all I know
Or dare to dream

And I will know no song
For living continues
As a stranger
Within my own skin

(Provincetown 2015)