“Our very life depends on continuous acts of beginning. But these beginnings are out of our hands; they decide themselves.
Beginning precedes us, creates us. There is nothing to fear in the act of beginning.
More often than not it knows the journey ahead better than we ever could."
John O’Donohue

19 December 2013: Elsewhere

Levitation, after Annie Dillard

उदानजयाअत् जलपण्खकण्टकादिष्वसङ्गोऽत्क्रान्तिश्च
udāna-jayāat jala-paṇkha-kaṇṭakādiṣv-asaṅgo-'tkrāntiśca
Gaining mastery over upward flowing energy severs contact 
with mud, water, thorns and the like; whereupon the yogi levitates.
~The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali  

I was remembering the way,
each night,
you used to carefully brush off
the soles of your feet
before stretching your soft legs
into the bedsheets.

At the time, I thought it a compulsion.

Later I saw it as an act of love
for your precious skin,
protection from those stowaway shards
of the broken world.

Then I saw that as exceptionalism,
and decided to dislike the gesture.

It is well known
that there are three ways
to levitate:
to die,
to trip,
and to love oneself
more than the earth.

I find I am opposed to all three.

It is less well known
that we levitate in embrace—
bodies, mud, thorns, and all—
as tenderness holds back fingers of flame. 

8 December 2013: Vermont

The Spinnery

It may as well be sorcery,
how she moves
from bleating sheep
to fair isle mittens,
through centrifuge and steam,
threshing and winding.

It’s the skeins still
deep with the colors
that floated off at shearing
onto the barn floor—
granite, caramel, rust, cloud—
that call me.

But it’s children we discuss.
I am there to find
the root of the next hat
I will knit for my son,
who loses them weekly.

The cloud that followed me in
was the shape of worry
over the particular shade of purple
his lips will turn
with snow on the air,
whether it is tolerable,
whether it will make him stronger
or do him in.

I have one of those,
she says.
A dreamer.
Jumping trains.
I don’t know where she is
for years at a time.

She makes it a point
to catch my eye:

But, you know, they don’t belong to us anyway.

And I laugh, 
remembering Frida
who loved to laugh,
with the barbaric steel in her spine.

Tragedy, she once said,
is the most ridiculous thing.