by Gina Marselle, November 2020
“Alive and well–
release what doesn’t belong,”
a mantra imagines.
I release this worry, heavy like a crow
sitting empty on a branch
near a river’s edge–
This pandemic is like a broken wing
filling my head with fear,
allowing anxiety to bear her weight.
Weighing my heart down until breath is shallow
breathe in to the count of 4
hold for the count of 4
exhale for the count of 8
My breath feels weak, without belief.
Prayers are empty. The sky has little light.
A corner of the blue sky smells like lilacs in autumn–
jealous my lungs gulp deep.
I try to center.
Palpating the naked earth between my toes,
as the wind arouses my hair.
I seed my toes into the earth’s belly
experiencing the enormity of time.
Earth has survived all the pandemics.
What can I learn from her?
I am silent. Listening.
I hear her enormous gulps of air,
she sighs a tremendous breath.
She utters in a voice as endless as time,
“You are alive and well–
release what doesn’t belong to you.”
I gulp her breath as my own,
kiss it deep into my center–
whisper out this mantra
until the crow heals and takes flight.
The branch snaps back with strength, the weight lifted
and without fear, worry
dances carefree in the quiet breeze
as the early morning light lifts higher into a dim sky.