Shards

I don’t know how to be
among so much brokenness.
I have the hands of a healer,
the eyes of a fixer.
There are too many that need healing
too many that worship
the brokenness
obediently inhaling toxic fumes
they mistake for air.

I’m not accustomed
to lying down on broken glass.
I set about with my broom
and my glue
because I was born this way.
I still believe in wholeness,
still covet purpose
but the mob rolls their eyes
at what mine can see
waving away my glue and salve
calling them futility
even as they ask me
to heal and fix
their brokenness

while
they
keep
breaking things.

I know I should adapt.
It would be easier
if I could learn
to whirl and thrash
amidst the chaos
as they do.
It’s not my principles
it’s my programming
I simply cannot get comfortable
among these shards
and twisted metal.

I love softness and green.
I crave slow quiet
in my cells.
I’m convinced they are possible
and I am worthy.

I’ve given up
on finding the edge
of this rusting decay.
I suspect this crumbling
is the world now.
Dread and déjà vu
slow my steps,
for I know how
this movie ends.

But I still don’t know how to be
among so much brokenness.

Perhaps
if I can just
sweep a clear, smooth patch
to claim as my own
away from the mob
I’ll be able to lie down
rest
and survey the terrain.
Perhaps I’ll find others
truly weary of the brokenness
or a path leading out
of this shatter zone
where
my hands
and my eyes
can find a new home.

© S. Rinderle, October 2018

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Green Burial

When my final day is done
I would be returned to the earth –
nothing between me and the soil
of my birth
but rotting skin.

Let my body decay like a ruin
laying in state
like the great houses of old –
monuments to pride and achievement
laid waste by the triumph of time
and the superior will
of rain and roots.

Let my interior walls be exposed
to the warmth of the sun.
Let ferns sprout from my eye sockets.
Let dragonflies and mockingjays
frolic inside my skull.
May young lovers sneak out under moonlight
to hump wildly among my bones.

Let streams gush
from my open, toothless mouth.
Let cougars and mule deer drink
from my pelvic bowl.
May fuchsia and daisies
burst forth from my ribcage.
May sycamore and oak
be nourished by my flesh.

And I will no longer be lonely.
I will finally be at peace
and contented
knowing that my feeble life made a difference
to those who truly matter
after all.

© S. Rinderle, 9/16/18

On Loss

It’s better to have loved and lost
they say
with pitying eyes.
They lie,
reciting flimsy greeting card verse
scrawled in cheap ink
that smears
at the slightest touch.

I am glass
The sound of their words
passes through me
they don’t see me
I might shatter
this corpse is a shell
I am mist
dissolving
and unstable
dissipating in the wake
of their breath.

They know nothing
of my love
or my loss.
It’s only better to have loved
and lost
if the loving was enough
and the loss
bearable.
The having mocks my life
for it is less betrayal
to believe there is no god
and disbelieve miracles
than to glimpse His face
and be forever denied
his Glory.

Do not lecture me
about patience and optimism
if you have not sat
on the chilled riverbank at dawn
watching the bodies wash ashore
with the incoming tide —
If instead you sip hot tea
standing in a warm kitchen
with your back to the window,
a picket fence you built
blocking your view
of the water.

I would trade those months of Joy
in an instant
to get back all the years
of pain and disfigurement.
I would rather float at the surface
than momentarily soar,
just to be plunged
into the drowning depths
to linger.

© S. Rinderle, 2018

I Know What Water Dreams

I know what water dreams.

She dreams of expanse both vast and microscopic.

Of extending her reach from shore to shore
filling chasms and holding unknown secrets of the deep.
Supporting frolicking human children on her beach
and pensive teens doing the backstroke.
Teeming schools of fish and calving whales
crustaceans and sea horses.
Leaving her nourishing minerals on shores and skins.
Supporting life, cycling life, being life.

She also dreams of the tiny places
rushing through my veins
surrounding my cells, bringing support, sustenance, and relief
to tissue.
She flows through my aorta and into my capillaries.
She lubricates my joints;
allows me to see.

Always she dreams of freedom
the ability to flow,
to move,
to be unrestricted.
Of purity and breath.
Oxygen and clarity.

Thus, her dreams are sometimes nightmares.
Horrifying quantities of sewage and inorganic waste.
Mutilated cadavers.
Sludge and toxic chemicals bubbling from open pipes.
Drunken revelers urinating at her side.
Tremendous trawlers razing the sea floor.
Fishers leaving death and destruction
like White buffalo hunters once did on the Plains.
Webs of fiber optic cables.
Dams.
Lakes of oil suffocating her delicate surface.

Also
disrupted flow in restricted arteries and tightened muscle fibers.
Obstacles of excess fat, yeast, chemicals invented by man.
Acidic thoughts, elevated hormones.
The products of agitation with nowhere to go,
choking her.

So she shudders, weeps, and wakens.

I know what water dreams,
because I, too,
have these dreams.

(c) S. Rinderle, 2009

Freedom and Regret

The price I pay
for clarity and conviction
is waking up alone
to breakfast in an empty kitchen
marveling at the loneliness
of the sunrise.

I paid the toll eagerly
at the turnpike
gaining entrance
to an unknown stretch
of road.
I would not rewrite history
even now
as I stand on the shoulder
wistfully watching my younger self
pull a coin from her purse
enthusiastically toss it
into the toll chute
saying yes to what’s next
blissfully cavalier
with her
power.
My eyes well with pride
and grief
at her tender ignorance.

We can only regret
futures that died on the vine
unviable embryos
never brought to term.
We can only know
what we chose.

I must trust in the kindness
of the Divine,
believe in her wisdom –
all else is futility
and dank regret.

But would that there were
a way to enjoy such
unprecedented choice
without the persistent gnaw
of loneliness.

Alas, I am born
too soon.

© S. Rinderle, 2018

A Memo

A Memo

To love a kitty
is to love routine
the precious monotony
of daily feeding and chores
an unavoidable anchor
to what matters.
It is submission
to the welcome tyrant
of inescapable need
a furry reminder in the doorway
that now is the time to stop
put down the pen
come back to the world
return to the body.

To love a kitty
is to love constance
the deep comfort of knowing
there is
always
a round, velvety presence
contentedly sighing
in some familiar nook.
It is to know that play
and warm vibrations of companionship
are reliably nearby.

To love a kitty
is to love generosity
for this tiny being
depends on you
for its very life
yet never gazes on your eyes
with mistrust and doubt.
Instead he teaches by example
intently watching the wind
and fluttering leaves
as if they are enough.

To lose a kitty
Ah, but to lose a kitty
is to lose
all these gifts
yet discover
many more hidden
in the crannies
of your heart.

© S. Rinderle, 2018
RIP 7/00 – 11/17

A Reminder to the Tender Ones

O tender one
remember who you are
The world nearly succeeded
making you forget
Yes, you are Warrior
But even the bloodied battle shero
drops her shield
at war’s end

Re-member your bones
You do not wear them
on the outside
like a shell
this hardness is only a shield
this armor is not your flesh
You are neither turtle
nor tender mollusk
you will not die
if you step outside
step out from behind

Yes, there is need for protection
and yes, for fighting
but remember the enemy’s tactics
They drop their guard
turn away their hateful eye
while you devour yourself
from the inside
their poison
is the parasite
within

O tender one
remember your original gifts
your brilliant birth
before the world taught you fear
Soften your gaze before the throngs
let go of your jaw in their midst
melt your bracing shoulders
relax your coiling center
soften
soften
Calm, vigilant
shield at hand
but softened

For what use is all the fighting if
when your eyelids drop
one last time
when the Earth turns to ash
at the end
there was nothing left
but angry shells
and fire?

© S. Rinderle, July 2017