thank you, norma


at the online conference

the zen teacher

norma, whose people are

from the island called oahu

on the side where it rains

everyday for

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

as 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

for a time, dying

crossing between

overlap of

cells in this body

ancestors sleep edge bird song

the molecular yes/no that holds 

the globule edge

between past and future

also a boundary



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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