thank you, norma

yesterday at the online conference
the zen teacher
norma, whose people were from the island
called oahu, on the side where it rains
everyday
200 years on the chinese side and 
3,000 years on the native side,
spoke of each place saying
the ocean they call the pacific
the country sometimes called america

i felt the spaciousness of that naming

today the sounds of the birds at waking
smashed me to the bed with joy and fear
how glorious to be woken by bird song
how horrible to live in a world without birds
with only bird alarm sounds and bird stories
and bird stuffies and bird poems
and no birds

as though the naming erased the thing 
being named

john a powell said identity becomes
more important when it is attacked

harder, stacked
like scar tissue that
can’t flow to respond to new
conditions
contradictions

a boundary is any place where movement happens
any movement is across
a space
if we allow for the space
then there is a boundary to negotiate

between the land and its name
between one ancestral train
and the one that flows the other way
tugging, contradicting
for a time, loving

but also between the cells in that 
ancestral body
between the molecules that make 
the globule edge

between past and future
also a boundary
constantly
reconfiguring
one side memory-phillic one side 
memory-phobic the binding, 
the cross over
not unified but glorified

the birds call
the birds die
not all together
but one, one, one
at a time

Published by Devon Riley

Teacher, mother, plant person, film photographer, modern buddhist, intersectional feminist. I keep a journal, take hikes, love women, have a husband, make dinner daily.

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