Cascarilla, for Ea
Magicwoman in the rain night, you dissipated a Portland cloud
of smoke, a broken belief, a deep need.
When the incense-woozy hush fell over the back room of your bookstore,
and you cut the deck on a splintered whim, perfect hoodoo,
cups poured forth saffron, clock faces shielded their reflections, chariots stayed put:
this was my faith, called magic, birthed back from extinction.
My whole body swayed in its blanket of relinquishing pentacles
after succumbing to an empire of knife-borne surgical excision.
(And now, Ea, teach me how to leave open a parenthesis.
Teach me again to salt the windowsill, drape black cloth over the mirrors
in the room where my baby lies. Hum your low, purifying hymns,
their perfect assumption of chemistry.
Every note you lullaby stacks the brokenness, prepares it for gold.
Am I dying? Because I need this to end.
Cascarilla, for Emily
I am no magic woman, though I do know the moon’s song,
how to hold it in a mirror, how to bury blood and stones.
Ask the face of illumination, the sun’s echo, for what you need
to end. Chant Sanskrit with me, smear cascarilla eggshell powder
across your thresholds. This is mighty magic. Open to it
as a Pacific pine grove receives her daily rain.
You know I cannot spin the earth around to catch the weather
or open a casket that’s been nailed shut.
Only you can put that periscope up to your eye.
Oh, take off your healer’s white robe. Let yourself be cloaked
in the softness of your erstwhile womb, the empty spaces ghosts leave behind.
They are what give music to the madness.
They are what balance the copper bowls.
We planted all the bloodstones in the earth, made home the full moon’s homily, towel-dried the sidewalk chairs and breathed. And it was different then, all of a sudden and forevermore. A door opened into a clear night; the rain had stopped, the boogeymen had gone away. Or out for ice cream or a church meeting, something nondenominational and edifying. I wondered if their bodies had ever betrayed them. I wondered if they knew they couldn’t harm a world that hadn’t harmed them first, or rather, wouldn’t want to. That’s how the copper bowls balanced: all the music in one and the silences between in the other. She left me with a certain serenity that smelled of smoke and sage and saudade. I left her facing eastward towards the sun.
Emily Shearer is an ex-pat poet and yoga/French/writing teacher outside Houston, TX. Her poems have been twice nominated for a Pushcart and the Best of the Web, shortlisted for the McCabe Poetry Prize, University of Houston Robertson Prize and Orison Anthology prize and published in Silk Road Review (forthcoming), Please See Me, jellybucket, Fiolet & Wing, emry’s journal online, psaltery & lyre, West Texas Literary Review, Clockhouse and Ruminate, among others. She has conversed with Viennese ghosts, photographed Mexican iguanas and wild horses in their native habitats, witnessed reincarnation and written about it all. You can find her on the beaches of North Carolina, the hilltops of Prague, the sidewalk cafes of any French-speaking country or on the web at bohemilywrites.net.