Tripping Out on Shaman Tea



it was cool
inside the hardened
mud house,
even though a fire burned.
the shaman was a woman.
she handed me tea
in a fine porcelain
handle-less teacup.
i lounged in the dirt,
against the wall.
solid, rooted.
and drank it.

my guiding voice deserted
me then,
i decided to go it alone.

i separated from
this shell,
and looked back
at her,
so fragile.
the shell and i
were tethered together.

i walked out
looked back
and saw
red castles built
of mud,
an empire,
a hive,
humped and shaped
by human hands.

i registered 
the march of bare
straight trunks,
a vertical pattern,
almost immediately,
saw a black shape
against the sky–
a hawk, i thought,
a bird of prey.
she soon joined me, 
and i knew her
as moth.

she was good-humored
and affectionate,
fuzzy gray
with orange marks,
glinting petite
feathery antennae
and insectile legs.
it doesn’t matter how many
window-screens you have to
bump into,

she said,
to get to the light.

i became a moth
flying helter-skelter
and i didn’t care
how erratic my flight.
this moth then quoted tolkien
to me and said,
not all who wander are lost.

she alighted on my shirt,
then spiralled up
into the night,
and i saw a gilded
crescent moon
in an indigo-ink sky.

i breathed
and then,
the next thing i knew,
i had a handful of
scaly waxen juniper leaves
and gray-blue berries.
spicy smell, scabrous bark.

i slipped inside the tree
and grew tall
and this juniper
must have been 
in league with
eckhart tolle
because my heartbeat–

i breathed and swayed
a tree
for moments
before finding myself
terra cotta castles
and my own
broken urn 
that leaned 
against the wall.

i saw the hollows
under her eyes,
touched her silvered hair,
and felt
a wave of 
she has been through
so much,
i thought.

our time together
is not done
and so i
became one
with the shell again.
the shaman,
who looked a little
like my friend leah
and wore a short-sleeve
cotton dress and long
pearl earrings,
clasped my hands
and smiled
and i made
the prayer mudra 
and said thank you.

i walked through
the doorway
into the forest
and raised my arms.

i opened my eyes
and they were wet.


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