Rabbit, Cactus: A Record (Poem)

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it was
an impressionistic journey,
many details lost.

i was wearing
a sleeveless
deerskin dress
decorated with white cowrie shells;
i could clearly feel the
soft hem against my shins.
barefoot,
in the dirt.

the cup was rough pottery,
leaking heat.
it always is.
and the shaman was possibly female,
though my instructor
kept saying:
he, he, he.
(sex and gender
are just forms.)

it was hard to focus
as my spirit went walking
into a forest
by monet,
dark
misty
secretive.
trees with hanging
oval leaves.
murky blues, greens, silver.

in a clearing
of combed grasses,
a rabbit sat
very busily cleaning himself.
rabbits, it would seem
are not very talkative,
but quite thorough.
his eyes were bright,
nose and ears moved seeking.
be alert,
be cautious,
(and clean, i expect)
were his recommendations.

there was one more thing
for rabbit to teach
when i borrowed his form–
power.
the kick i gave
with my hind legs
was mighty.

he seemed lost in thought
as he followed me.

the paths 
branch and fork
and
there are no paths.

the plant that calls
is a fleshy cactus
growing on the forest floor,
its spines
needle-thin
sharp
and so long
that they seem to spin
a gleaming angular 
web,
a surrounding cage.

defend yourself 
when you need to.

drifting back,
the shaman’s hair is 
gray,
a lock knotted with feathers
on one side
and
a wide black band
painted across his/her eyes,
probably
historically signifying
something tragic
like war
or mourning.
i don’t know.

i am drifting
and in
flesh and bone.

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