Joyce Pace Byrd
           Zen Mama Poetry                  
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      Just When

Just when you think
you are beyond it -

can’t be touched anymore -
a tentacle lashes out and snaps
around your unsuspecting ankle.
At first you think, it’s only a
tentacle, a filament;
nothing serious like before.
But your shocked ankle remembers the binding and the venom,
the scalding cold.
The ankle convulses,
encouraging the tentacle to tighten, attached as it is
to the grinning maw,
that now knows
it has one more go at you.


                      Living Outside

Living outside ourselves comes early.
We train ourselves to pull up -
out of a body – reaching, stretching
bigger than we really are;
being little risks the trampling.

We learn to hold ourselves
a few inches above grounding -
holding up and holding back
become primary patterning,
holographic imprint.   

Resting in a body is learned response.
Welcoming arms must wait
while a being lights and settles in,
like a landing bird needs time
to fold wings and smooth fluffed feathers.

If no trustworthy lap presents itself   
essential rhythm syncopates -
with an interval between self and integrity.
Truth slips behind convention,
ill-formed and un-beheld.
Without the feel of a true fit
resemblance passes for identity.                       
Stones are mistaken for bread,
and homes 
for the veneer of belonging;
the silver cord
growing ever thinner.

Yet through the half light
salvation glows, calling softly,
“Come, come to the house of grief.
Come inside, come down, down
to rest, at last, in yourself.”

And if you will go into the chrysalis
the goddess there
will hold you in her arms
until you grow the wings
you pretended to have.

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