The Young Anthropologist

i found a small child digging for mummies
in a sandbox in her backyard, in the gully
behind the neighbor’s house. she found artifacts
with her brother, bits of handcarts and rusted
tools from another generation. they weren’t quite
ancient enough, but were brought home anyway.

when no one was looking, she’d open up the yellow-framed
magazine of exploration and adventure and discovery, a
geography of humanity and nature and new ways of knowing.
secretly, she searched for photographs of unearthed things––things that had
been buried in the depths of the earth, decomposed to a moment, this moment.
flesh and hair and materials still intact with bones.

Secretly turning page after new-smelling magazine page because
death and the dying and the once-human remains were the reality
no one spoke about––she was drawn to the secret things,
the hidden things––the things that must be found and seen
and kept holy because even the dead are beautiful.

mummies. she sensed the ritual, the seeking, the old ways––
ways that were sometimes terrifying and horrific and unspeakable.
what did you really uncover when you uncovered a body?

she too was decomposing. growing, but
decomposing. she too would end up beneath the surface,
real and dead and giving up her essence to more life.
this was not scary, but magnetic. inevitable.
life and death would come to her again and again.
this is the only discovery. day after day:

life becomes
death;
death becomes life.

What the Women Are

recognize the hum that created the earth,
the lulling, haunting, wise song that
is birthing an entire planet.
the congregating clouds that move
forcefully to clear out the old and
bring in the new. birth. again,  again.
recognize the curves like the mountains
like the tides, like the roots that
maintain a forest of a living ecology.
what the women are is in everything
you eat, you breathe, you grow, you build,
you love.

What the Women Do

see every bit
make holy of the ordinary
Water into wine
tears into laughter
alchemy of soul into a life.
make a living place
iron out spreadsheets and bed sheets
or not
bring home the bacon and cook
a fine meal
or not.
love the touch of your skin while
you’re falling asleep and before
your body emerges into a day
because women make bodies, breathe bodies,
inhabit a pulsing, bleeding, feeding, dancing body.
it’s what the women do.

Tending a Morning

Dvorák in the dark until my arm
can reach from beneath the sheets to
click on the bedside lamp. Dvorak lingers
through the bedroom accompanying the
first ordinary task of the day: the bed is made.
My mother etched in my morning ritual that  
the dance of a calm heart will begin with
straightening and tucking,
smoothing and taking time to put things
back together. A made bed tending a day’s life
and holding a place of rest for night’s  imaginations.

Waters of Winter

I think of spring fronds, green and resilient and so
snow secures its heavy pack with two or
three storms in March. In second grade, Ms. Lizak
said March: in like a lion
out like a lamb
.
There were paper kites
tacked to the classroom wall next
to the times-tables race to the top. Numbers
etched in my brain next to
construction paper umbrellas next to
rain drops that looked like tears from the sky
for renewal of a season. Snowfall turning to
drip drops of wet soil for May flowers:
drip drip drop little April showers on repeat
while my boots crunch through the unshoveled
walks and drives, an ocean tide of winter storing
up the waters that will run down the mountain first
when spring melts quickly, then summer––melodic brooks
and the rivers that carve canyons and cleanse
hands, face, neck.
Outside my window, a neighbor shovels
the heavy
wet, new snow.