visitor

how strange it feels to return as a guest

to this city where my children were born

to sit above this frozen lake, barely a block

from where she squeezed them into the world.

chicago ice is harder than ice in the mountains

 

all blocks and harsh geometries, the cold indifference

of the city. there’s so much they don’t tell you

about raising a child, like how warm they are

when you hold them as they sleep

how they arrive complete with their own destinies

 

committed to making their own mistakes;

how you’ll touch them less and less as they age

as if you’re both slowly fading into a story

how you’ll watch, helpless, as they suffer

the crushing pains of this embodied human life.

 

beneath the ice, the waves still come, lifting and cracking

the heavy gray plates. one day, they say, spring

will return, but tonight, it’s just the slow rolling

of unseen waters, the lifting and settling of the frozen lake

the slow and brutal grinding of ice upon the shore.

 

 

©jafink/oldbones.newsnow.com

Images of Retreat, Karme Choling Vermont

Recently had a chance to spend a week retreat at Karme Choling, the Shambhala meditation center in Barnett Vermont, one of my favorite places– early season snows, ice, darkness and light.

old snow

Image

 

old snow

 

 

I’m old enough now

to feel the arc of my life rising

over the years, the shape of it

and the erosion of old certainties

beneath. when we’re young

we experience ourselves as a point

as beings out of time. but I’ve knelt

in this cathedral long enough now

to be conscious of the beads of sequential

experience clicking softly through

my fingers, this error in perception

I refer to as me. the gap

between the man in the mirror

and the man in my mind grows larger

by the day, as if some piece of me

is trying to circle back to the origin

even as the physical me noses over

and begins to accelerate toward the final

target. maybe one day I’ll come full circle

and meet the boy of my original self.

what would we say? who would be

the teacher? and who the taught?

how much might finally be forgiven?

Winter is ending at last in these mountains

but the snow lingers in the shadows

like a difficult lesson— that everything melts

but in its own time, that even old snow

can still shine, that old ice

can still be dangerous, that old fingers

can still bleed.

 

 

© oldbonesnewsnow.com/ J.A. Fink