Sailing

Just about ten years ago, I gave birth to my second child.  Like I imagine death, birth is a sacred space, and by that I mean nothing with a blue aura and a mandala on the wall, but a space that is wholly out of secular time.  When I labored with my first child, I had to travel so far to get her.  The geographical map of her birth was only a few rooms, but the journey for her to arrive in my arms, squalling and ruby-lipped, was beyond measure.

As my daughter begins traversing her own female journey, I tucked in a poem among her treasured birthday cards.  This poem has the quickness of a child, coupled with maternal blessings.  Poetry, in its own sacred territory, is a litany to murmur in the soul’s dark night, a comfort and conjoining between people, a radiant gift to offer a beloved child. Here’s Lucille Clifton:

blessing the boats
(at saint mary’s)

may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear
may you kiss
the wind then turn from it
certain that it will
love your back
may you open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that

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