The losses came so quick and fast,
it was like successive tornadoes,
tearing down the wood before I could even
pierce the wood with nails, to assemble.
Eventually, I had no more energy to re-assemble
my bones, the walls of my very own structure, being.
My blood was frozen pipes, all the light off inside me,
I watched pack animals and dreamed of joining them.
To run again with something, to have the nourishment
of being part of a pack. I sat alone in a house
without power, playing solitaire in the dark,
a hole is a free place to live. I refused to eat,
to acknowledge any sort of Divine.
With nowhere to go, I stumbled into a church
after watching a homeless man go inside
talking incessantly to himself. I needed a place for that.
Inside I talked to all those I lost as they talked about the Holy Ghost.
Every time they said those words, ‘holy ghost,’
I thought, “I am a ghost, a man with a stalled heartbeat.’
I had winter songbirds in my head all day.
There was no sign of spring or new life.
There was a certain comfort in knowing, the church
was constructed around loss. No one was there
who didn’t acknowledge loss in some way.
We filed in every morning, and I could let go of the need
to wear the favorite face, that allowed the world to notice
and be uncomfortable with the idea that, tragedies can and do exist.
I was not talking to God. I hated him for quite a few weeks.
He seemed silent too. Then one day, I muttered
Is it just that you want me to have privacy with my dead?
Something inside me just said let go,
they are not going anywhere soon. You
keep yourself tethered to grief and heartbreak,
but is that them or do you just need to feel a replacement
to connect you to something? In my most defeated cells,
I realized I was still producing life, bringing anger to life.
The truth can hurt like nothing else. In tantrum and tempest,
I got the anger to find the power saw. I held it in my hands
knowing I could cut down everything I saw around me,
make it as barren and dead as I was inside, but
I also realized I could use it to rebuild. I realized this time,
my structure need be simple, so I sought out simple things
that the wind could not take away. I built myself
out of prayers, silences, nature, hugs, grace,
divinity given to me through transactions with others,
and roofed it all with forgiveness. I was stronger at my softest.
I was safer knowing I did not have to worry about survival
because everything I used to rebuild could be re-found.
I learned what it is to have faith, to live in a world
where nothing can destroy you because all the things you’re made of
are impermanent. When strong winds blow now,
it’s just air touching me. It’s all those who have left this world,
putting their hands on me saying, “See how truly strong you’ve become.”
Ruin made you mad, but ruin also made you indestructible,
as it teaches you the more walls you surround yourself with,
the greater you are at risk when life rolls in the big winds.
Build your foundation on soft things and your structure will be sound.
A wall can crush you, faith can blow away, but laughter,
poems, the feeling of the wind on your neck are always there
when you become aware these are the tools we need
to rebuild the structure of life, when it does shatter.