radical gratitude spell

a spell to cast upon meeting a stranger, comrade or friend working for social and/or environmental justice and liberation:

you are a miracle walking
i greet you with wonder
in a world which seeks to own
your joy and your imagination
you have chosen to be free,
every day, as a practice.
i can never know
the struggles you went through to get here,
but i know you have swum upstream
and at times it has been lonely

i want you to know
i honor the choices you made in solitude
and i honor the work you have done to belong
i honor your commitment to that which is larger than yourself
and your journey
to love the particular container of life
that is you

you are enough
your work is enough
you are needed
your work is sacred
you are here
and i am grateful

i love winter

i love snow.

i love walking in the snow and i love sitting in my house and watching the weather come and go, fog, snow, freezing rain, sun. weather in a big sky is part of what brought me to detroit.

i love how quiet it is when it’s snowing, and snow days and tea/hot toddies, soup and reading and taking hot baths that fog up the windows.

i love putting my footprints in the fluff, i love the heat of my own body under my layers. i love having the right layers, the learning that goes into keeping my body warm and mobile and dry.

two things make this love possible – winter travel to warmer places (though with climate change, it’s been kind of cold everywhere), and working from home. i’m not sure my love would be as possible if either of these norms shifted.

but as it is, i just wanted to say it loud and clear: i love winter.

apologia, alabama

we were not the revolution
we gathered in sight of the monuments
we held up our phones at arms’ length
standing on the bridge looking for
droplets of iron and salt
rinsed away by rain 53 years ago
my father was twelve and then thirteen
I mean this happened in his lifetime
but now we have already gone so soft

in the slavery museum
he called us wenches and bucks
yelling in militant cadence
absent of feeling, at ease in the work
‘bend your knees, don’t you look at me’
and we did, and we didn’t
and some of our comrades laughed
because they are really from the continent
and they don’t have this memory in their veins

I feel defensive of my bloodline
and in those small rooms of wood and drama
I wept, but quietly, ashamed to be the open wound
when I’m supposed to be a teacher

we met people in the small town
they all came out to touch our hands
I wanted to tell them
‘I learned to breathe from a man who migrated north from around these parts
to breathe freely
to say the word revolution in the mirror
and feel capable of the terrible’
I learned to be somebody, of many,
a miracle in a realm of ubuntu

but we sat in the room
as if blackness was a wilderness we had controlled
as if we knew how it should be lived
as if it were solid and real and forever
as if we carried no seeds in our mouths
only tornados, glaciers, or chasms
as if history was a door closed behind us
and not this rope fraying at our
withered, willing necks