Golden Rule Prayer

Help me to love others right

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I Hope You Dance: After Death

When I attended my first wedding
after the loss
the first dance encouraged dancing

“Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance
and when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance”

My gut wrenched
heart clenched
mind reeled in anger
“I hope you go fuck yourself”

When I took leave of the celebration
for a time
long enough for a long cry
heart longing to hear his cry
plans, hopes, expectations
shattered for his wedding
for his future
for his chance to dance

I returned to face guest’s thoughtless speech
suggesting I stepped out for a quickie with my husband

How I longed for the taste of a knuckle sandwich
more than the taste of chicken or steak

How I longed to long for dancing
or chicken
or steak
or quickies

How I longed to long for anything else
at all

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Morning After Mourning

I.
When all the lights went out
in my house
my doors bolted
my windows storm-shuttered
too late
the storm already inside

I felt around blindly
fingers and whiskers outstretched

sometimes I rested from searching
and sat
on cold floor
wherever I was
all rooms the same in the darkness

Tennyson once said
‘Tis better to have loved and lost
than never to have loved at all

seemed like bullshit to me

II.
When all the lights went out
is when I noticed a candle
flickering halos
against my shadows

with moth attraction
I drew closer
no place else to go

The closer I came
the brighter it shone

from its radiation down my hallways
I could make out monochrome pictures on my walls

III.
When my lights came back on
one after the other
year after year later
I still followed the candle
down my hallways
up my stairs
into Your clouds

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Salvation

The sinner’s prayer doesn’t save you
the beautiful poem to initiate
repentance
forgiveness
washing clean
becoming new

The holy heart in the moment
the words soar
doesn’t save you
the remorse
the joy
the sparkle

The blood doesn’t save you
from so long ago
dripping holy wounds
holy suffering
holy grief
holy rising again

The walk will save you
following shallow footsteps
through overgrown path
committed
miles and miles

briars in skin
blisters on toes
winding path
forever uphill
through drifting snow
pools of spring waters
heatwave
up and forever up
to the peak
of wonder

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Bowl Body

washing my bowl
I pay special attention to the inside
like I was taught

it’s the inside where fork meets food
where fuel steams
where sauce thickens
where meal
pregnant with life
stews

I visualise
washing my intestines
scrubbing my stomach
soaping my skeleton
sudsing my liver
lathering my lungs

rinsing my bowl
toweling dry
we are both clean again

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Do Not Pray

like you have been taught
Do not ask
Do not beg
Do not bargain
Do not worry or complain
Do not lead others in prayer
Do not sigh in despair

Look at the stars
imprinted on your eyelids
Marvel at their simultaneous
distance and nearness

Notice the breath
See how it is both inside
and outside of you
See its excitement and stillness
its rising and falling

Dwell on the names of the eternal:
creator
sustainer
healer
beginning, middle, and ultimate end
humor
beauty
balance of attachment and aversion
and of creation and destruction

Picture the vastness of space
and the life inside the atom

Remember the nearness of the infinite

Then, gradually, come back into yourself
and recall your worries, fears, regrets, nightmares
Do they look any different?

Whatever the answer
smile

you lived to see another day

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Mechanical Bird

Someone upgraded the birds
with automatons
and no one noticed

but me

Mechanized chirps
eggs in circuit board shells
beaks peck through tree sculptures
wings soar through turbines
talons tear apart drones

I throw a fit when microchips
chip teeth in scrambled eggs
and when pillowcases fail to contain stainless feather needles

However
traveling, never easier
security lines vanished

pack your helmet
and bungee cords

and whatever you do

don’t look down

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