And past the cellar door, the creek ran and ran.
creaked open unhinged screws ripping slowly from the jamb
the old wood tearing the threads pulling out like strands of hair
long weavings of pine cones and silence it is an open crystal book,
the brook, running through the cold cellar the springhouse ice
water that makes your jaw ache makes her head burst into flight
wings a whirrr in the bright air.
I am a misplaced person,
is that like a misplaced object, when the keys aren’t in the bowl,
not on the hook, no one knows where they are and the bird’s throat
moves violently in and out, making sound.
My chest moves in and out violently, making sound
that runs out and out like the creek brook rivulet
tidal wave flash flood hurricane beating the tin roof
like a heart.
I can hit and be hit but can i sit still. out in the pasture
the creek comes gurgling and past the cellar door the baby is crying
and the basement floods. every house i lived in growing up flooded.
there is much to weep for.
i am silent and hiding my head. do not speak to me.
And past the cellar door the creek ran and ran like blood until the heart
heaves fierce and empty, the spurting stops the trickle fades scabbing
the sidewalk. i pray for hashim that his blood
will scab no sidewalk. i pray for ivory that his blood
will never scab another sidewalk. i pray for ruben
that his beauty will outlast
you have the gift of laughter she said.
do you know? i also have the gift of tears.
The door is swinging on its hinges it doesn’t know which way to go,
i am waiting for the wind i have a knife in my hand if the wind
doesn’t come i can whittle it down, the bright sharp
blade the angry old wood the knots the screaming hinges. open
the door step through
into the creek, into the misty flooded cellar, into the sunlight,
into the whirrr of birdwings and the violent
beating of hearts.
when i knew i’d left my knife in the car, i looked for a heavy rock.
eyes throat groin knees.
If you know the whole thing you don’t need to do it she said
stepping soft into pollen into blood into the rain
and running with high steps running uphill
running past and past and crying like a bird.
I don’t know she said laughing and unfolding her knife but it’s time
to cut open the loaf, its heart pumping like the heart of the world.
the sun slipped behind the moon, slit open cut in half, its door
only half ajar.
While thinking about the Sacred Americas theme, I read these words from Pema Chödrön, which I offer with gratitude, as one window on my piece and the overall theme: “In the midst of loneliness, in the midst of fear, in the middle of feeling misunderstood and rejected is the heartbeat of all things, the genuine heart of sadness.” (from When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times, by Pema Chödrön.)
Sharon Franklet was born on the coast of Texas, and lives in rural northern New Mexico where, in her favorite moments, she sits and watches. Her writing, threaded through by Earth’s beauty, often focuses on how we both are subject to and resist the forceful control of our bodies and lives, from rape and lynching, to hunger and captivity.