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aparigraha is a sanskrit word expressing non-possessiveness, non-grasping or non-greediness. it is the opposite of the desire for possessions. our beloved cinque terre, our retreat in sonoma, has burned to the ground. this poem was born from that experience. shiva has two meanings. One is the Hindu God, Shiva the Destroyer but there is also the Hebrew term shiva, the week long mourning period after a death.

shiva came through this place
smoke signals foretold

Destroyer
wiper of slates

Destroyer, you hit your mark
smeared your body with our ashes

crumbled our city
of material dreams, security illusions.

that which you have reduced to settled piles
disintegrates my grasp of worldly form

with one fierce sweep you’ve left me clinging
my fist clenching

nothing but material ash

oh shiva, open my eyes sealed by
beholding the “Plan”

my hands wail, they pound futile rage,
but all that is left is suffocating ash, a strangle of fear.

run! shiva has swept through here.
run for your life. run until you collapse in the horror stilled by the dissolution
and stand in it, melting like ice in fire

stand in the loss, in the center of it all, in the calm eye of the hurricane
release my false grip

travel through shiva’s eyes where destruction offers a path, that if taken
shows the soul beyond the pointless grasp, false security

aparagraha

shiva, destroyer
cut the cords to my grasp of that which is not my soul

leave only the cinders of what never belonged to me
force my hand open to lay on my heart
embrace eternal heart beat

let what has been taken
blow away in the winds

leaving me standing with palms open
on shiva’s purified ground.

Heart

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her skin was white as snow
her hair black like raven, and eyes luminous black bear eyes, warm and round
she was so beautiful it made my heart swell

when i came near her, very near
my third eye tickled and i said to my brother’s girlfriend “i love you, mary”
and from then on, my forehead would tickle when i was near someone i loved

so it was easy to see that my robin hood brother and this fairy princess
were enchanted at 17

except when she missed her period
after that i don’t think any prince could wake her out of her fate, and before they knew it, the elders had handled the affairs and they were married

she found herself living in our cavernous house alone with me, a 7-year old
her teen husband worked nights at dr. pepper and mostly just stayed away doing not-good things
and my daddy worked late
poor adolescent snow white playing the mommy role way before her time

by now the spell wore off and i wasn’t in love with her anymore but i saw this commercial about deviled ham in a can, it looked so delicious i wanted it for dinner

she objected but i protested and she relented and made me a deviled ham sandwich on white bread

and there we sat
snow white, me, and her pregnant belly
but i couldn’t eat that salty pitch forked ham. it tasted nothing like the made-up story they sold
so i ran out to the woods and she screamed after me but not too hard because truly, how could she care?

she had enough on her mind with a ruined life and her apple so ripe

snow white in her cold-dream glass coffin wide awake
in a house so empty there weren’t even any ghosts for company

i left her there that night so long ago
my forlorn snow white
with nothing more than a tin of underwood deviled ham
and the bones of a poisoned castle.

 

snow_white_by_vocatur-d4p94gy

 

my passion flower is wilting

home, home where the embers die down

my passion flower is thirsty

down, down where the fountain is dry

how will i file this away
lose this piece
tie new shoes of fresh lace
grow a new head
body to bed

passion flower wilting
embers still burn
my passion
my fountain
where my flower is wilting

Dahlia by Sarah Curtiss
see more of Sarah’s work at http://www.graceartgroup.com

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