I call it the River, synonym for Sanctuary
Kick off your shoes, open the windows, toss the duffle bag.
Put the wine in the refrigerator, wave to your neighbor strolling by.
Inhale sweet salty air, hum along with the wind chimes.
Let the moment speak. Be careful to listen—whispering voices do not repeat themselves.
Let your shoulders drop like a pine cone to the ground, all in good time.
Let quiet rest beside you and surround you like your lover’s smile.
Listen to the gulls, the osprey who welcome you back, whose lives, too, are fraught
with danger. Pay attention. They survive alongside tides and storms and humans.
Let go when you hear the voice of the sea and the trees. Stop talking.
When you feel your breath, breathe again and then again.
Sit down. Trust the loving-ness around you and beneath you and in you.
Even in the dark, your journey brings you to this light, this peace one more time.
Leave the world alone. You do not need to be the keeper of friends, family, your past, your mistakes.
Imagine tomorrow. . .you two haven’t met yet.
(Inspired by Joy Harjo, “For Calling the Spirit Back from Wandering the Earth in its Human Feet.”)
She said she’s taking Jesus to work with her today at the hospital
I say bless you. I hope she wears a mask, and I hope she kissed her babies, and I hope legions of helpers appear bringing perseverance, protection for her aching body, but don’t hate me for staying underground, avoiding the virus, sipping coffee, savoring breakfast, stroking my cat’s softness, thinking about praying, prayer never having been in my wheelhouse, the prayer that comes in fits and
starts like a stuck piano key, maybe a verse here, there, or a curse, often sitting alongside wishful thinking, but mostly a still, annoying voice. Veiled. Godless.
Marsha Owens lives and writes in Richmond, VA. Her essays and poems have appeared in both print and online publications, including The Literary Nest, Rat’s Ass Review, NewVerseNews, PoetsReadingtheNews, Rise Up Review, The Sun, The Huffington Post, and Wild Word Anthology. She is a co-editor of the recently published poetry anthology, Lingering in the Margin, and a proud recipient of the Leslie Shiel Scholarship Award for Writers Who Read, awarded through the Visual Arts Center of Richmond.