LEAVING THE HOUSE
I remember standing the last in line
awaiting communion at a friend’s wedding.
When I reached the rail, the priest
judged my life and turned away.
Rooted in those raw moments
I stood, hoping he had overlooked me
or had gone back for more hosts––
but no; he resumed the Mass.
I turned then, returned to my seat.
it took a dozen more years
to leave that house where I was not wanted
when another man-of-god
a priest in Cambridge, Massachusetts
turned away from my outstretched hand.
I recognized the gesture and left the church.
YOU CAN GET THERE FROM HERE
I return to the cellar nightly
pressing my cupped ear against the unyielding side
of the water heater.
I crouch in the dark.
Gurgle and hum inside the tank
summon words sleeping within me
in waters older than time.
Mothers collectively cross my mind.
I rise, I walk,
I follow them through the dark
sensing my way.
SAIVA SARVA [Finnish/Lappish for reindeer as the shaman’s token animal]
You courted me when I was young
although I did not know your name,
only the shape you assumed in dream––
a hart. You chased me in a field
caught up and bumped me
from behind. I encircled your neck
with my arm and was lifted
into the night sky. Fearful
I clung to you for life.
As we flew, fear faded
and I opened myself to the night.
Limbs outstretched I flew with grace
and wanted to see the face of my dead mother.
There she was, standing below
with others, looking up at me
and smiling full.