Naming the Bones

And he said to me, while curled up, head resting in the space between my clavicle, eyelashes reaching the stars, “mama, when you die I’m going to keep your skeleton. I’m going to keep it next to me when I sleep.” I kissed him gently and told him that he could be the keeper of my bones, of what will one day be left. I name them: his treasure. I name them love. I name them devotion.

Our beginnings are soft, malleable frames, dipped in fluid, an encased sanctuary. Islands afloat an embryonic sea. “You began like this”, I tell him, “I miss those moments sometimes, where you were everywhere I was. When we were one. When I knew you in such a different way” I name these bones: temporary, happiness, innocent.

Our ending is hard, frail, broken, chipped, worn. Life’s map of erosion. An artifact, a keeper of records. Full of love and laughter, of grass between your toes. Of loss and guilt, of dreams and years imprinting themselves. He is 10. He knows this. These bones. The ones that carry him, shelter him, the ones that gave birth to him.The ones that have moved and contorted, that have eyes and ears all their own. The ones that grind.The ones that can cut down and tear up. The anchors, the ones that hold, that stay, the loyal ones. I name them: a work in progress, a list of secrets, an unfinished story.

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Walk with fire

I awoke with languid limbs, heavy from dreams I was still speaking to.
My head a fog of past particles mixed by confusion and the sound of my son calling.
Winds had battered my window all night
A banshee knocking, beckoning me to come play
To be swept away in endless frozen gusts
I breathe deeply and promise myself I will get him to school, despite the arguing, despite the begging to stay warm and safe in dark blankets.
My gentle, yet strong words cut through his attempts
He finally cracks like ice beneath his boots and agrees to get dressed.
Only three hours late for school.
I sit in the car, warming my hands.
Just breath.
Just silence.
For the first time in sixteen days.
Home again, I dress the dog in his ridiculous coat and force myself into the subzero
The cold hard ground bites back
My face numb
Winter has taken me.

I walk slowly, letting the cold absorb me, watching the puddles, now miniature ponds
The smell of pine and smoke blowing past me.

I walk with a fire inside
A fuel
An eternal flame of defiance, devotion, disillusion
I envision the burning words I began this new year with

Goodbye to memories that taint my vision, goodbye to dead love lost and long buried, goodbye to fear of failure and exposure.

I am exposed.
Face and hands raw
Stepping determinedly
Like a predator
Like a wolf inside me
Ready to howl with neighborhood dogs paws up on fences
I stop and meet their eyes.
They know this cold,
This heavy gray

I walk with fire burning inside, my charred words resonating,
Hanging by strings
Held tight by ribs
And lungs
By layers of skin and clothing.

I release my breath, I bare my teeth
I watch this slow release
This air escaping in curls and whispers from my silent, empty throat.

I turn the corner toward home
I turn my back to the bitter cold.
I step inside
My stomach a space of grounding, of intuition and trust.
A new breath of fiery coals.

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Inside out

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Between the wind and the midnight fireworks
I fell
Inside my breath
Watching it unfurl
Dance like the flame in the night
Ring loud like bells colliding
In this one moment
I watch it burn
The leftover parts
The shedding of skin
My midnight oil
Dividing days and years
I saw words scribbled without thought
Shriveling
Dispersing
Leaving trails of thin smoke
Of dragon’s breath
Of lungs of fire and throat of coals
A tongue of ash
Teeth of ember
Spitting out these last words
These last vows
Of tethered memories
Into the flame
Into the last minutes
With the cold air batting my face
My bare feet resting in soft snow
This is ritual
This is clean
This is the frozen time
Where intentions and lessons learned
Walk hand in hand
A destructive resurrection
My phoenix
My wildfire
I welcome you
I leave you and meet you again
In the orange glow
In the fragments of spark
I find that moment
Closed eyes
Words whispered
Extinguished
The wild winds come in like harbingers
A cathartic release
The last minute
The last hour
The last day
Come and gather the unconscious
The subconscious
The divine layers that divide and bind
The melting, binding fragments
Stirred once over
Paper fragments escape
Carried away
I open
I fall inside
The flame fades out