Spirits Place Needles Along My Songlines Until I Hum.
It was mid-June and the maypole stood straight and strong in center field, wrapped in ribbons of prayers for the trees and the sky, the insects, and the four-leggeds, and oh, the people of this shining planet, breathing and birthing the new tribe, who live with the land and plant by the moon, seeding our future.
He sat on the front steps of the porch in a straw hat and watched her while he whistled and worked, and a tiny black spider explored the edge of her paper, and the birds and insects claimed the day with their clamor, and the coffee went down smooth as brandy.
Hot in the heat of the kiln of the sun, I sat and I baked in the empire of the river, where cedar scents the air and the redwoods sing at the top of their lungs. River: the word itself implies current.
June, when the water still nips and the nights send me off for a sweater. It’s not until July that the cuckoo comes calling, flying on her hollow bones, whistling a song of summer as I snake down the silver road to see who I’ll become.
The garden of my bones had drained dry. I didn’t know how sadness leaches the minerals from the soil, dissolving what matters, until the crystals of my wrist shattered, sounding an echo through the canyon, and I was asked to come lie down in the empty tunnels of my blood and reseed them with kindness.
So I planted flowers, purple and yellow, among dark leafy greens, and I placed rose-quartz at the center of my cells, and I waited, and I watered, while I bloomed.
Now I make time each day to ride a drumbeat like a horse through the veil to the other side where the spirits come and place needles along my songlines until I hum. They rub the gates of my feet and shoulders, my lower back, my belly, until I open and find the wave of my breath.
Rock-a-bye, babe, the ancient voices sing from cradle to grave; God, we all just need to be held.
Take off your shoes, touch your soles to the earth, feel how your body fits to hers like a glove. Your skin and sinew see more deeply than your eyes ever will. Bones to stones. The rhythm of their stillness will awaken the awareness where you remember: you are alive.
Dream catchers, truth-sayers, strung up in the trees, woven like webs, each junction a jewel that sings. Look in the grass, there, an owl feather: juju from Sweetland, where they hang leis on graves by the side of the road.
You can’t go back, Jack. North is the new south. The tavern of the lost and lonely is empty. Only the ghosts whisper as the door creaks closed and the red moon rises and the long snake stretches her back as you ride her curves, learning your own center.
Look for your reflection in the graffiti on the bridge as the dreaded drum-boy slides by with a smile, his eyes clear as sky. Sage shushes on the roadside as you walk past a sign for moonshine, trusting we all find our own way home.
Meredith Heller is a performing poet and singer/songwriter with graduate degrees in writing and education. A California Poet in the Schools, she teaches poetry-writing workshops for kids and adults. Check out her poetry collection, SONGLINES, from Finishing Line Press. Her new book, Write a Poem, Save Your Life, is under contract with New World Library and will be out Spring 2021. She is mused by nature, synchronicity, and kindred souls. You could contact Meredith via her blog.