The “good” disabled person



For Sarah Lawless, in the Wolf’s Hour


sing your dark songs to me

fill my head with visions;

drowned in ointment,

sink into the bloody soil of my flesh

send your roots deep

into the rotted heart of me

erase the pain;

send my soul tumbling

to distant worlds

as I dream the strange dreams

that are your gift;

give me your wings

shaped from shadow,

woven of loam and need

when I wail like a newborn babe,

whimper like a dog

half-dead on the road;

man, dragon,

help me to hear

let me feel anew

open my eyes

and let me see.

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The ecosystem of the spirit

Lately I’ve been considering the concept of the spiritual ecosystem.

Specifically: over the last 18 months or so, I’ve collected a lot of animal relics — shells from marine organisms and land snails, deer bones and antlers, animal skulls, skins, tails, snakeskins, whiskers, shed fur from fox and wolf, horse hair, teeth, claws, and so on. Most, if not all of them, comes from animals that have passed on (the shed fur and horsehair, of course, is from still-living creatures).

If one posits that an animal’s spirit is connected to such relics, then the number of animal spirits clustered around this house, where they’re all kept, is massive, and the different types of creatures is varied (deer, raccoon, wolf, horse, buffalo, fox, coyote, snake, cat, bear, snails, water molluscs, insects [bumblebees, dragonflies, wasps, several kinds of moths and butterflies], toad, rabbit, mouse, shrew, chipmunk…)

But this “home” is pretty much not what most of them are used to —  a one-story house on a very small plot of land that is a combination of garden and lawn, located in the suburbs of the American midwest. Not forest, not prairie, not marsh, not ocean.

An ecosystem is composed of numerous components — the animals, the plants, the climate, and the land itself. On a spiritual level, the animal spirits are probably — mostly — not in a place they’d recognize as “home”. So it falls to me to make it more comfortable for them…at least, as much as I can. That’ll take some thought, admittedly; the oyster and clam spirits attached to the shells I have will never find this place an acceptable substitute for an ocean, but for most of the rest of them — land and air creatures — I might be able to do better.

Trying to build a connection with them, a closeness, requires wanting them to be at peace here.  On some level, I think that’s the very least I can do.

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