Sipping It Slow

Poem in Response to Crossing the Lines: Stories by Tony Press (from my fourth and final poetry collection, ANCHORHOLD, forthcoming later this year)

quotations in the final stanza are lines and titles from stories in Crossing the Lines (Big Table Publishing, 2016); the epigraph from Rumi appears in “Two Days from the Sea”

This human being is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
– Rumi

There is a narrows where the stories merge,
a confluence of parables where the lessons
all converge. It doesn’t matter, once they’re
gathered, where each of them began, upon
which of faith’s many mountains they had
their origins. The gorge’s walls are birth and death.
Between them: all our days.

Upon the cliffs there hangs a mist, a cloud of
swaddling, a shroud, suspended droplets.
Fragments of the lessons permeate our days,
our every moment. Aware or unaware, we
take them in: we breathe.

There is a narrows in our windpipes where
the stories merge, the nitrogen and consonants,
the vowels and the verbs. In the alveoli, all
the words we’ve heard are filtered, membranes
customs where each passport’s checked,
each visa is reviewed:
only preauthorized molecules get through.

In theory. But the confidence we have in our
security, methods, systems, preconceptions often
fails to consider that, we too, are made
of water, all of our cells are immigrants, all
of them were something, someone, somewhere
else before. And no system of filtration
can expect complete success when it is
striving to keep kin from kin.

It is Not Fifth Avenue. We are never more
than Two Days From the Sea. “Tomorrow,
if it be granted to me, I will see my
friends again at our café,” and Jake will tell me,
“Just sip it slow, mi amigo.”

–Laura M Kaminski

If you haven’t read CROSSING THE LINES, you can check it out here.


in response to, and with lines from Irfaan Ihsan Jaffer’s poem “Forever” at iithinks

In the beginning was the silence of space
That silence held a moment of pressure and tension

In the beginning is the silence of space
That silence holds a moment of pressure and tension

I watch you raise your lips
One word from you and it exploded into light

I hope you know
Your gorgeous smile 
Is heaven’s gift… 
That very moment is still unfolding

As without, so within

Each morning, I walk in your garden
Take my hand and follow me 
There’s a secret place 

Each morning, I inhale your fragrance
A mercy
Sent down to rescue me

Each morning, I bear witness to the dawn
Each morning, the dawn bears witness to the still-unfolding moment
All I see is you

As without, so within
All I see is you


-Laura M Kaminski (Halima Ayuba), 15-October-2016

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