Dream of the Red Tent

asian woman with purple hair smiling holding hands dancing

I want to write about tenderness
a year of exhaling
into presence
finding myself
and my tribe
the lost tribe
of Dinah
of Miriam
of Zipporah
of Sarah

wildly unabashed young women
dancing
scantily clad
in fields
in rivers
in deserts
in olive groves
under the moonlight
and also in the sun
flirting with each other, and everyone
settling in to learn, listen, teach and create

little girls
running and laughing
learning, sharing, asking, teaching
growing

holding each other
through loss and heartbreak
naming each other anew
at every evolution
along the journey
breaking open
spilling tears on shoulders
and blood on earth
and making magic
in dark tents
by firelight
and on hillsides
by moonlight
and beside wells and fountains
in the sunlight

mamas and wise women
weaving, watching
running, chasing
letting go
teaching, offering
learning and leaning
supporting and falling
asking, listening, and letting go
holding hands
wearing babies
singing ages of wisdom and longing
seeking peace
sharing joy
sharing sorrow
succumbing daily to the weight
of life and responsibility
and then each day also
rising again and again
growing softer and rounder
evolving from elm to
weeping willow
soaking up tears
offering shelter
with long arms and bodies
laughing and releasing
fingers tickling and dancing

and at night
swaying, rocking, rolling
in rhythm with babies, men
and each other
ohming deep knowings

and the elders
watching everything
meting out lessons
in stories and judgments
in gateways
in doorways
at kitchen tables
offering extra hands
nobbled, softened, or hardened
by creams, time, and work
knowing deeply
sharing sparingly

and singing louder than all the rest
owning balance
teetering sometimes
between giving and holding
seen, respected, held, and appreciated
gently supported
the middle links looped
back to the beginning
of the chain of generations
the best baby watchers
returning to silliness themselves
holding everyone lightly with hope
while letting go

in my dream of this dream
it takes all of us
i don’t know the stories of the
men and boys
they are the same stories of
the warriors
we have no need for lions and lionesses
here
we’re safe
and have been for generations
that’s not to say we don’t have
teeth
we do
we can bare them
but we seldom have a need to when
kindness and empathy reign

we see the fear in growling
we see the uncertainty in arrogance
we answer
with loving arms,
questions, open hearts

hurts can heal here
wounds are kissed and poultice
and tended until flesh and bone
and sinew are restored

death happens too
mostly in its long and patient
time
and also sometimes
she comes before we’re ready
and the loss
breaks us open all over again
and we learn
to remember
that some cycles are shorter
than others
nothing is impermanent

and hearts can learn
to beat
even in the spaces
that loved ones leave behind
we stay linked
to those who transition
to the other side
we sit together sometimes
holding the light and dark
shadow in flame
understanding that both
need tending
by young hands and old
our gifts are welcome
in all the worlds
when i cannot see you here
anymore
it doesn’t mean you are gone

and grief is an ocean
it ebbs and flows
and remains deep
and bounded by shores
it’s not the whole world
even when we cannot
see the end of it

held
seen
named
heard

we all thrive here
we create the world anew
with words, tears, laughter and
dancing
each of us
each and every one.

may it be so.

Poem