Earth Day.
I am performing my abyanga,
rubbing my body down
with olive oil,
as I do every morning
before I bathe.

He calls to remind me.
To ask me what I am going
to do.
Thin radishes or lettuce,
finish planting seeds,
long over due for planting.
But in the bathroom
my foot upon the toilet,
my hand gliding down
my calf, something senses
in that animal kind of way,
prompting me to think
that I wish I could
expand beyond the boundaries
of my own flesh,
but just now this seems to be
the territory I trek,
circling the same ground
round and round,
shoulders and elbows,
back and forth,
again and again,
on the long bones
of my legs and arms.

Something senses, like an animal
before it can smell its prey,
that the celebration
will be even more humble
than my simple gardening ambitions.

Later in the day,
when the computer once again
will not cooperate,
he tells me to turn it off
and say 28 Hail Marys.
I phone a friend instead.
As we talk I can feel grief
growing up through me
like the sunflowers I’ve let die,
from bonds broken
and connections that can’t
be kept up.
Tomorrow is my daughter’s birthday,
seed in the earth of my flesh,
hearing her on her voice mail
makes me see her handwriting,
the way it was in 6th grade,
much as it is now.
This is who she has become to me,
voice mail at work,
e-mail with a birthday list,
rarely flesh in the room.

That is the way our life on earth
has gone,
we touch only through machines.
No one has time to talk over tea,
to take a walk at sunset,
to spend an evening hemming a skirt.

Today I took the time to have tea
with someone I have known for years,
now I don’t have time for a sunset walk.
I have canceled dinner instead.
the whole thing makes no sense
but still it seems true.

Is it modern life that makes me feel
I have no connection with the child
that I bore. I cannot truthfully say.

If I meditated more there would be more time.
I know that to be a fact.
Something tells me if I threw
the computer out the door
there would be more still.
It is a wisdom I cannot formulate
the logic of.
I feel like I am walking through honey
because I am trying to live a
different life in a world
the same as its has always been,
only more so.
A life where connections
can be kept.

Driving home the road in front of me
stirs that gasping asphalt grief
I sometimes get,
that drove me to a frenzy once
trying to dig up what the street crew
had just poured.
I had not meant to,
but I have honored the Earth only by empathizing with her,
the grief I know she feels
at her core.

Date Lane