skin as subterfuge; it flaps loosely on our flagpole bones

Sitka is on Baranof Island.
this name, Baranof,
an homage to the Russian who
stole and savaged the land.
indigenous people,
historically and pejoratively
referred to as “savage”,
yet it is always the colonizers who
display true savagery.

perched on this island’s western shore,
we expand in our confinement.
land all around us, we struggle
to find it. the ocean makes us
miniature, despite our feelings
of grandeur. these feelings, perhaps
employed as defense against our finality.
water breaks on rocks, sends itself
scattered into atmosphere.

sometimes, the ocean
at our toes, the mountains at the swell
of our ass, sometimes
this feels claustrophobic.
if we fill our insistent lungs too fully,
we will topple into the seething sea,
or impale ourselves on the spires of
snow shrouded mountains.
just as often, the mountains
remind us of our impermanence,
our feeble and frail human form.
the ocean, reminding us
of the motion that seems so foundational
to Life.

this couldn’t be just me;
inhale to claustrophobia,
exhale to freedom.
the mind wriggles and hides,
furtive and terrified.
the mind quakes loose
of its fear and shame,
it greets others naked,
rolling like the sea.

Je Shen. “Purple Meditation” 2017. https://www.jeshen.art/

Published by Zak

an intertidal island in an ocean of impermanence.

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