by Shonda Buchanan
Our lives are the alters.
The shelf we intend to put good things on.
Candle, rock, bone.
Soft kiss, tight hug. Sisters. Smell of a newborn's neck.
A car's wheels on freeway across a country,
the traveler's lonely song a fast forgotten whisper on
ghost darkened roads.
Sunsets I've swallowed and those that swallowed me.
Bare-breasted moons over a DC power out sky.
Salt in my aging body. Sacrifice of four days and nights
without food or water.
The pale loss of mothers and land. Shelterness nights.
Hot memory of hunger and want. Then, regaining of ground.
The waking up. Starting over again.
It is every step, this life thing. Books we read, cry into and pass on.
Our children, men, wives.
Oceans and marches and graduations on Facebook.
A Indian grandmother's face and fists against Canadian embassy door.
Malaysian sister curled into her kids. Wolf pups howling for the right
to be unhunted. Guns being traded back in. Guns leaving our hands.
Our lives are like the leaves we turn over to see the other side of---new.
A possibility to save the one we didn't save. To undo and make right.
Burn old angers and rise above.
Be braver; share what we can.
Kiss the broken pieces up to God.
Every moment is that chance we secretly want someone to offer us back.
When someone comes to you, give over to the sincerity in each other's eyes.
Find the something beautiful,
put it where you can see it every day and hold on.
Follow our first instinct
and do no harm.