Down is the way I carry
this new soul in my mouth,
like the weight of pure responsibility.
I am glued to nature, my laugh is
no longer mine but is the sound
of soil breaking beneath the plough.
I have been here alone for over eight months,
and it is heavy like an arm that has
fallen asleep. It is good in so many ways—
a vision completing itself, like the brushing
of wet hair in the sun.
The bulk of this tiny being in my belly
is the paradox that lifts and roots at once,
is the dancing of the spirit in the earth's
thick mud. The crib is waiting for her weight.
Her father dreams of her sweet mouth and eyes. Fragile
as the essence of flesh, she has wooed me with
her kicks and turn, with her yawns through
the ultrasound shade
and the scratching of her cheek.
Soon we will see her and all her beautiful colours.
I begin to be overwhelmed. I am gathering my
childhood jewels, gathering
all my totems to meet the unveiled gaze
of her glory.
your skin alone is as soft as
your smile is my last breath
and your lips puckered for cooing are
a glorious gain of candy apples.
We two are now three
merged in the depths
of touch and long stares.
In the trinity hug, we delight in
the smell of your fresh-washed hair.
We look into your navy eyes,
whispering words you can't understand.
We break the shell of just-us-two. You,
entering our sphere like a beautiful dream.
You, a gentle symphony that changes everything,
like the touching of the stuff of fairytales.
A gentle goodness
has joined her rhythm.
Her social gift
is why she is so loved,
and for her compassion
that she holds out without
envy or pride.
Hers is a nature that forgives,
making room for the outcast and
When my heart arched beyond recognition,
she bore her own ancient wounds
to ease my lonely labour.
When her husband died, the light was cut out
of her eyes and a new light awoke that carries in it
the weight and ravages of death.
I need her like family,
like a good friend
or water in my mouth.
She gives substance to my shadow,
moisture to my pores. She blocks out the sounds
of the noonday world, being for me
someone to talk to and someone to sometimes
lean my fallen dreams upon.
It calls from the depths of tomorrow
like a drought that cracks
the once-dependable earth.
It lives out there, drives
the nine-to-fivers from their beds
to rush the highways and miss
It has found my hearth
and meets my faith head on.
In hunger, in the bandage of rising debt,
and in once again dipping my toes over this
treacherous edge, it will not let
me go. It drills its home into my belly
like a fatted worm, and year after year my prayers
cannot wound its faceless pulse.
It has become familiar though I promise
to feed it no more. It is my blindness,
though to all other eyes it is a blessing
that should drive me to conform.
I know it when I sleep and rise, but
I also know the tale of the lilies in the field, and
I believe in heaven.
In fear I look at the sun
though comforted in my core
by the same bright substance.
In fear I know myself nothing,
unworthy of grace, blending
like the rest into infinite shades
of non-committal grey.
But then peace is found unlike the peace
told about in books, peace buried
deep beneath the piranhas and mirrors,
buried where all the horrors of self-inadequacy
must be walked through to reach its dispelling breath.
In fear my barriers are built like rooms to enter
to stop me from finding the open door that beckons me,
that says to me—lay down your guilt and defenses,
let self-forgiveness wash you,
and hold your enemies in open, strong arms.
The enemy is fear. We think it is hate, but it is fear.
Our thanks to Allison Grayhurst from Toronto, Ontario, for today’s fine poetry, and to Katy Brown for these fine photos. Allison is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. Three times nominated for Sundress Publications’ “Best of the Net” 2015, she has over 1000 poems published in over 410 international journals. She has sixteen published books of poetry, seven collections and nine chapbooks. She lives in Toronto with her family. She is a vegan. She also sculpts, working with clay (see www.allisongrayhurst.com/), and she was featured in Medusa’s Kitchen on March 11, 2016.
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