by Timothy P McLaughlin

I waited and waited a great while
before I knew enough
about listening
to hear the bright ones
and only faintly at first,
so I wasn’t sure if anything
had happened at all.

A long nothing
makes the sudden
something almost too much
to bear. And crashing in
instantly were waves of doubt, swirling,
bubbling about, eager to pull down and
drown my first visitation.

But when I breathed her up—
oh lustrous angel—
by way of my sure spine and
eased eyes, the foam settled
and slid back to tide.
And when I offered her
my next breath,
fluid and sweet, the whole ocean
rang out, an infinitude of
sparks dancing and
glittering in the sunlit swath of sea.

My mind melted
in the wash of that chorus;
various and wild, the notes stung
my heart and seized my chest
like a hook in the flesh—
me the dangling
fish, ready to be filleted and
eaten by the Divine.

And I might have hung
there still, through
a hundred lifetimes, happily captive,
the day my ears
first ceased their vain reaching
and began to blossom
softly inward.

(c) 2013 Timothy P. McLaughlin

Timothy P. McLaughlin is a poet, spoken word artist, and spiritual teacher. He founded the celebrated Spoken Word Program at the Santa Fe Indian School and is the editor of the award-winning book Walking on Earth and Touching the Sky: Poetry and Prose by Lakota Youth and the producer of a poetry album and documentary film both titled Moccasins and Microphones: Modern Native Storytelling. McLaughlin received a Lannan Writing Residency Fellowship in 2011 and his writing has appeared in a variety of journals. His debut collection of poems, Rooted & Risen (Hiraeth Press 2016), chronicles an inspired intimacy with the still wild places & presences of the Earth. He is best known for his powerful style of embodied recitation and his commitment to revitalizing ancient oral traditions in fresh contexts. He offers concerts, workshops, and ceremonies—often in collaboration with his wife, singer & sound healer Madi Sato—meant to awaken an integrated body-soul continuum and rekindle humanity’s basic reciprocal, loving relationship with Nature. McLaughlin lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his wife and their two children, Anjamora and Tadhg. Visit him on the web at www.TimothyPMcLaughlin.com.