This poem is dedicated to my close friend. She just underwent a life changing surgery and it has been a scary path. The first time we had a meeting it was about poetry, I think we should circle back there after these years.

With much love, to Katie:

Your back to the corner,
raw skin was spread evenly,
yet breath would not come the same.
All the sounds shook you
into restless sleep.
An eagle owl struggled to lift off with you, a great feast.
Yet, no matter how you outweighed him,
his talons gripped–
shook you into worse dreams.

[On the edge of a black cliff, cold wind chapped your face,
organs and vessels became trees and grass,
reminding you of life.]

And you opened your eyes.
A hundred warm hands
touched your back.
And as you inched away from the wall,
Warmth soothed the rawness.
The tears made very little progress.
You looked up and the sun came
with a cooling rain,
a serendipitous rainbow
and your name appeared in the clouds.
(Or maybe that last part was just the long months over your eyes).
It didn’t matter–
the warm hands were real
and they brought peace.

Your own hands, you placed them
tenderly over your heart.
“There, there, Fear. We are intertwined, but Warmth
from this world outweighs that bond.”
The eagle owl’s wings flapped and opened to their full span.
Suddenly, beneath an enormous avian
shadow, you watched
while each and every feather softened.
You watched talons become fresh clay,
release your arms.
Plumage blended from camouflaged browns
into purples and blues.
Blues deep and clear,
blew over the cliffs of your old dreams
and they became waterfalls.

At last, the bird of prey
lets go of shape–
makes a final transformation–
into a bird of love and grace. She lands just to bring you a song,
a harmony of comfort and space,
and evermore–strength.