The Saning

It might be one of those mornings
when the city is no longer a miracle.
You would be running through the woods,
concentrating on your breathing,
when its little hand reaches up
from a pile of leaves
and grabs your ankle.

This is the saning.
It is there for you to discover;
dirt in its eyes,
its umblical cord uncut.

You are alone in the forest
with the ghosts of your ancestors
and an inarticulate child.
You have fallen into
one of the holes in the fire,
but you know what to do.
because you have eaten kangaroo meat
and dreamed of a moment like this.

You’ve been running for years
and your hair has turned white,
but you still have what you need;
your mother’s sewing scissors
engraved with roses, and a red
washcloth that won’t show the blood.

You pick it up in your arms.
You cut the cord with the scissors
and clean its eyes and its mouth,
then you breathe into it.
This is the moment
you get to invent your own religion.
The poem becomes bigger than you.
It is filled with your breath.
It makes you remember yourself
as a child, standing in front of a door.
You have been bathed and powdered
and you want to leave because
you have fallen in love with your
footprints in the sweet smelling dust.

This is what you are following
now, when the poem goes to the light.
You watch it walk away.
Perhaps it will turn to thank you.


*The first time I met Mister Bill, he gave me breathing lessons for natural childbirth. Hence, the poem. He was supposed to be discussing my thesis with me. I especially like the way Mister Bill’s glasses slip down his nose. It is not very professorial.

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