Folk Tale

nothing has ever belonged to me
but what I've called loss returns as souls
october teaches me its first day
in the death of my young friend
five years ago her tumored hands
failing shaking
when we talked we talked of breath
deeply more deeply breathe more deeply
then breath was gone but not her myth of cures

someone has planted zinnias in a bathtub in a parking lot
someone has learned the exquisite hardship of sanity

spirits everywhere not waiting for spring
here they come unmasked
I read a russian woman's life
her friends memorized her poems when
it was too dangerous to write them down
my own nordic ancestors set harps in their graves
ladders to the next world
the first day of october I follow the twigs cracking
laying their patterns right under my feet

a friend tells me she has a good idea
a friend tells me she's found one laugh in the middle
of an argument a friend tells me he has lived through
a meaningless war a friend
tells me a child has been born at home
another friend tells me nothing
but just hearing her voice convinces me to
give up hunching my shoulders for the relief of saying
all the poets all the friends all the dead
who are not the withered dead but
they forgive death they know they have helped
deeply more deeply breathe more deeply
the endless exchange the endless inheritance

take a risk
nuts split their meat falls in its pieces
small lamps from the bonfire where the masks are burned

Holly Prado
from Specific Mysteries


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