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Pallas Athene in Covid

Posted in Poetry

Pallas Athene in Covid

Pallas Athene

These days are like worn shirts with a thread alone, reaching and risking the pulling of it and the subsequent unmaking of a particular seam; perhaps a cuff, a shoulder, or maybe the thread is hailing out from behind an important front button. I feel like everything could come apart if I let it, if I don’t tend that thread, or if I breathe wrong.
My schedule set against Covid, is crafted around caring for my mother. Everything is odd and means something–I am a Pisces with a Cancer moon and Libra rising. I would trade this with you, because I feel everything, and frankly, without kids, I would have cleaned out my locker long ago. Now I can’t do it, leave them here in this neighbourhood of the galaxy where there is so much fuckery. I love them so. I will hunt you down if you look at them with anything other than the best joy.
And so my mother: I get up in the morning, pause to remember dreams that may give the answer I seek. I pretend to be functioning as I make coffee, paint to distract myself from the noise and hollering of right and wrong–the ability here is new and odd, and comes through my fingers from some muse pulling extra credit for me as her project. Bless her. At a certain time, I climb the stairs and let myself into mom’s apartment to administer her puffer. Stupid­–the vitamins, the puffer, and the threat of an oxygen tank parrying against her packs of cigarettes. I bring egg salad. I offer to make her a sandwich and am declined in favour of tubs of yogurt, and cottage cheese that she sets on the counter and snacks from during the day. I leave, double-knotting my sanity I keep in a bag tied to my belt.
Early evening, I invite mom down for dinner which she no longer can make for herself. She sits and I cue up the computer and we watch a family friendly series set in farm country, which we both like. The episodes address tragic and difficult elements of life that have touched us both, but instead of triggering consideration at all, the opportunity for healing our brittle, empty relationship with each other passes through like a murder of crows. I want so much for her to reach out, but she is a Gemini and has as much ability with emotion as a bowl of oranges does singing a lullaby. This duty is becoming more exhausting, draining with each day set against the insanity of politics, plus the poor shape of the planet–I am Joan of Arc, I am Amelia, I am Pallas Athene, otherwise nothing.
Oh, and oh, and the death of RBG. I imagine what it must feel like to have lived a full life, to have contributed and then be done, while here I seem to do nothing but seek. So many rugs pulled out from underneath my feet by people I cannot blame; foolish to stand with my sword sheathed within grabbing distance of anyone.
Painting has taught me about ‘trust.’ If I paint what I see, and not what I think I see, then the work will be tolerable. Now, in an apartment that wants to kill me every day, I am trusting a path opening to my future and some sort of place in it. If I feel my way forward, instead of trying to take a worn path, there will be something. Yes, my inner being loves your inner being and maybe that’s why the battle, because our egos conflict and stop us from embracing. I love you so much, but recently, when asked to imagine someone whom I consider tenderly, there was no one. Instead, there were moments during conversations when deep connection was made, strung through words and the sentiments of an idea–it was as if I loved electricity running through the wires.
I know, I know, believe me I do–there is God, and my higher self, and meditation, and positive thought, and goals, and happy music, and no alcohol, and sensible caffeine, and Buddha, and mindfulness–stop ringing my doorbell.  Then there is Rumi:

“Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”

 Isn’t that everything? It seems so simple, but here, the thread is pulled and my sanity has dropped off of my belt somewhere here on the rug.