Today we stay home and practice
a radical vulnerability.
Today we invite a trembling loneliness
to the breakfast table and ask if it likes
its eggs over-easy or scrambled.
Today we begin to unstitch the wringing
seam of our chronic apathy.
Today we don’t throw in the towel. Unless
we just stepped out of a long, hot bath
and the mirror is fogged with the steam of
our solo striptease to a Rihanna playlist.
Today we bless our jaws & our spines with
the acrobatics of some bone-tugging laughter.
Today we are singular in embodying our solidarities.
Today we bind to our tongues words like “orenda” —
a compass for the Iroquois or Haudenosaunee peoples.
The native tribes name an arcane energy inherent to us,
a force as innate as exterior to our being. This energy
surrounds us — an extraordinary, invisible force that
empowers all that is known and unknown to enact
change through the benediction of collective will.
Today we don’t tokenize or fetishize. Today we harmonize.
Today we agree to honour each other from a safe distance.
Today we hallow the faith of our grandmothers
breathing life into clay ovens and kitchen gardens.
Today, we wake up to a fuchsia epiphany
budding forth from my bereft succulent.
Today we trust the possibility that can still break
open quietly from the mouths of unsubtle failures.
Today we understand that whatever we deemed
worthy of touch has always been intangible.
Today we wash our hands mirroring those rivers
that blessed our ancestors with their fluid litanies.
Today we learn that responsibility is a coalition
of response and ability. That we are variously
boats, bridges and boundaries to each other.
Each version of us is needed, necessitated.
We can shape-shift between our given forms
as a matter of clean water’s amen. Aqua. Elixir.
We stir as glowworms dotting the landscape of
singing balconies. Today we agree that this new
fragility in all its diaphanous tenderness reminds
us of our mothers painstakingly sheltering our
babyclothes. Today we take a moment and then
several to remind ourselves that this disciplined
empathy is our true inheritance.
Today we don’t burn our tongues on the black
coffee of daily news first thing in the morning.
Today we slow down the spin of anxious prophecies.
Today we opt to reclaim our sanctuaries from their
shadows. Today we begin with a glass of warm water,
a brief prayer honeying our throats, a little morsel of
gratitude for the here and now. For leaves shuffling
their juniper and basil-bodied intimacies. For the butterball
parakeet nattering through the sleepiness of toddy palms.
For the slight flicker of sunlight lapsing into the jacarandas.
For those who have known this isolation for years before.
For those who have never been offered the option of signing
off from the clockwork of emotional or physical labour.
For those who are without means and modes, thereby often
ending up as statistics at times like these. For those whose
hands nourish our bellies and our nerves. For those who are
keeping us alive today. For those who will keep us alive tomorrow.
For those who kept us alive through a history of yesterdays.
Today we open our heart up like season-readied fruit.
We eat. We feed. Learn to stay anchored to each heartbeat.