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Healer

 

You may think I don’t recognize your solitude

There in that bed,

Your loneliness, interrupted

by the well-meaning efficiency of nameless strangers in colorful scrubs.

But I’ve seen a hundred souls in that bed.

Most lived, many cried out in pain and loss,

a handful took their last breath right there.

 

I see you.

 

We are not the strangers we seem to be,

You in an ill-fitting hospital gown with missing snaps,

Me with an upside-down name badge on formless scrubs.

We are each imperfect, hopeful, trying to stay open to what the day brings.

I know as well as you do the sword of possibilities hanging over that bed.

 

If you share with me what matters to you

I promise to listen

To what and whom you love,

What keeps you strong,

Your independence, your hope and faith,

the bright light of your mind and spirit,

 

I know the truth.

You have come to heal,

Whether you believe it or not,

Whether you can tell me what matters to you or not.

I see you, a singular soul in that old bed.

May I be the healer you need today.

Remembrances

A mother paves her son’s path through life with remembrances.
Here he played.
Here he laughed.
Here his hair bounced in lustrous tumbles as he ran.
Here he bowed his head in secret conference.
Here he won a private victory and smiled his private smile.
Here he stumbled.
Here he fell.

Here she loves you, beautiful boy.
Here she remembers you.
Here she holds you close and never lets you go.

Touchstone

Slow pulsing waves rattle pebbles as I arrive,

breathless from my run.

Translucent peaks, ice cold and kelp-speckled,
melt against my hand

as I touch time-polished stones,
deep luminous singularities,
multiplied into the millions since she died.
All the days she's missed,
crystallized and laid to rest.

 

One stands out.

Creamy pale agate with a blush of rose,

Round and smooth in my hand,

Soft on my eyes and heart,

Not complex, not duplicitous,

Have hope, it says.
I love you, mom.
And turn to run again.

Moment

rose in cut glass craves earth,
but stiffened with the arc of her moment,
she iridesces, velvet and moist,
withstanding the perturbing gaze
until she is permitted to drop
petals by threes and fours,
weep sap, and melt clumsily
into the warm, loving ground.

Prayer at the Edge

Under a flat, gray sky,

An infinity of time worn stones retreats

Into fathomless depths

Of umber and viridian.

 

Again and again,

The deep crystalline vault pulls back,

Hissing hungrily over the stones,

Then surges forward with an unvoiced sigh,

A terrible weight,

Marking our time with its breath.

 

A wave crests, pulling open

An aperture to the underworld.

I throw in today's offering,

Smooth agate, warm from my hand,

A prayer for clarity.

 

There's no sun today

To illuminate its descent.

 

The window closes like a watery eye

Just as the next opens, 

 

But the stone is gone,

Laid to rest amid kelp forests

And cathedrals of shipwreck and bone

And all the other stones.

 

How can we stand here at this shore,

The dying and the beloved,

Not knowing if it’s time to hold on

 

Or to finally let go? 

 

With yet another silent prayer,

Wet with tears and hurled

With all our might into the depths,

May I be true to love.

May I be true to love.

Poetry  by Rachel May 

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