(taken from a fastwrite exercise prompt from Telling the Truth-Writing as a Path of Self-Awakening at WWF(a)C)
To her I am danger – to him I am irrelevant. To her I am the first – to him a sunshine. To them I am curious-to us I am useful- to he I am a student – to him I am an ass. To that I am an icon – to them I am a voice. To he I am a groomer – to them I am a nuisance – to her I am a savior – to her I am a demon. To it I am a lover- to that I am a wizard.
To the experience-I am an architect – to the olive, I am an eater. To the Bourbon with two cubes of ice, I am a worshipper of time. To the sweater I am stuffing-to the road I am kin-to the desert I am a pilgrim-to silence I am a devotee. To hygiene I am a rebel -to the unborn I am a chosen void -to lineage I am an escapist. To the city I am a virgin-to the mountains I am a beginner-to Love I am food-To God I am, I am.
To her I am danger – to him I am irrelevant. To her I am the first – to him a sunshine. To cigarettes I am a quitter – to them, I am curious.
Allison for the Poplar Grove Muse
For me, spirituality is a very practical thing. My grandfather always wanted me to come to church, and I understand that concern, that desire, that lifestyle. Church can be a beautiful place full of haunting music, lovely woodwork, a chorus of voices and a sea of smiling faces wishing each other well, a community, a place to find god. But Grandpa, I wanted to say, I find god at the farmers market in the eyes of the man who raised the animals, slaughtered them humanely, and carried the heavy coolers full of them to the lot where I can purchase them to feed my family. I find god in the smell of that meat cooking in my kitchen, surrounded by a colorful assortment of fresh vegetables that I also carried home in a green cloth bag from the market where I talked with the tan-faced man who, I noticed, still had dirt under his fingernails as he traded his work for my money. I find god in the hot panting breath of my dog as she comes in tired and happy from a long grass-eating, tree-sniffing, leash-pulling walk. I find god in the green eyes of my daughter, constantly questioning, seeking, looking to learn. I find god in the prickle of my lover’s beard along the back of my neck in the quiet dark, his hand on my hip. I find god in the fullness of my uterus and breasts during part of each month and in the heavy red flow that arrives with heralded predictability. I find god in my own two bare feet as they meet the cool earth in spring. I find god in the space between my in-breath, as I reach up for my first sun salutation, and the out-breath that follows as I fold over to meet my knees. I find god in the trees and hills of this southern Indiana countryside that I was born in, raised in, that I bike through each day and in the sore muscles that wake me after the first long ride of the season. I find god in the gurgle of cold water making its way over rocks, in the soft cooing of the dove couple that comes to drink from my bird bath, in the smell of fresh cut grass. More than once I have found god in the gut-wrenching evacuation of my dinner into the cold, wet porcelain of a toilet bowl in the middle of the night and found god again in the sweet relief of my own perfectly rumpled pillow afterwards. I have found god in the weathered, worn hands of the man on the street corner holding a cardboard sign and in the warmth of those hands as the bag of organic baby carrots passed from mine to them. And, I find god in the words of other women’s voices that I hear sitting in circle in a charming old school house. I find god in the still space inside myself that holds them carefully, with care, listening from the depth of my spirit. It is this spirit, this god, the one I know is seeking me in this myriad of living ways, that I seek with all that I live and breathe and do.
DRH for The Poplar Grove Muse
He almost always stumbled out of their bedroom well before she did, an urgent call to the bathroom propelling him as fast as his dilapidated knees and metal walker could manage. Then to the coffeepot to push the start button, confident that she had scooped in the coffee and poured in the water before she’d gone to bed. Sometimes he’d take a quick nap in his recliner in the little TV room adjoining the kitchen before the bell signaled that the coffee was ready. Sometimes he’d turn on the lamp and read a chapter in his Western.
She’d pass through the door into the TV room and veer right into the bathroom, squinting in the light. She told us that she’d come out of the bathroom one morning recently, before he’d been rushed to the closest hospital by ambulance, before he’d spent those last five days in the hospital, and he’d said, “Why don’t you come here and give me a kiss, Polly?” And she did. She’d kissed him smack on the lips before she went to the kitchen to pour her half cup of coffee and to heat his up a little. She told us: “He must’ve known something was going on, something wasn’t right. We really didn’t kiss much anymore—you know, we’re old people.” She kind of laughed and sighed as tears filled her eyes. “I’m glad I kissed him. What am I going to do without George?”
They’d drink their first cup of coffee, side by side in their matching recliners, reading their library books, or maybe she would read her Bible, or sometimes they’d talk in the hush of the morning about what they were going to do that day: mow the yard, pick tomatoes, go to the Dutch Discount to pick up a few groceries. Then she would start breakfast—almost always two sausage patties and two eggs for him, and a bowl of cereal for herself; sometimes toast, buttered then browned under the broiler, and a spoonful of her strawberry preserves.
She said the first morning she walked into their little sitting room, after we’d all gone home and she was there by herself, she’d cried and cried because he wasn’t there in his recliner. The house was too empty, too quiet. And no one had pushed the button on the coffeepot.
Glenda Breeden for The Poplar Grove Muse