Most nights I dream I
am digging a hole
as wide and deep
as a coffin. The walls
of the tomb smell like food;
naan bread, crab cakes,
I lie down and take
a deep breath.
But the other night
an invisible shaman
spoke in my ear.
I dreamed he taught me
how to heal the hairline
people’s hearts, but
all I wanted to know
was how to heal my own.
I heard his tongue
cluck, cluck, like
a ruffled rooster
shaking out silken,
and told me that
more than half
of any wound is
healed by healing.
Bear cub sleeps within my heart.
He growls and yips in dreams
heavy with the scent of spring
approaching — thickening mud,
warning caw of the red-winged
blackbird. When night falls
I crawl into his cave and feed
him golden combs dripped in honey,
red tubers dusted with earth. His
coat shines, his claws lengthen.
Where is the medicine? I have searched for it
on paths leading far from the homestead;
past skeletal groves of stark birch trees guarding
the iron gates of a world beyond my grasp; ashen
fields pale with drought, thirsty buds pursed upwards
for any lick of rainwater. I tunneled into the ground
and wandered through ancient cities, pored over books and
yellow bottles. I have traveled through steady breaks in time.
Where is the medicine? Where is the medicine?
Bear cub wakes from restless
sleep and toddles into my arms.
He yawns widely, incisors bright,
pink tongue curled up, up towards
the narrow roof of his mouth.
There are no pills, no powders;
no six red seeds to swallow
and keep spring’s fever at bay.
There is only a longing, nascent still,
that quivers and stretches with each
passing moonrise. It is a voice, hushed,
that dares to whisper when all are fast
asleep. Your rivulet, bear sings softly,
barely above a sigh. Your rivulet is here.