by Cheryl Anne Tuggle
On a rain-soaked day, not long ago,
I sat at the table in my kitchen,
tired of myself and tired of the world,
and read cover to cover
a book I’d borrowed from the library.
I devoured it, really,
The collected sayings of saints.
Pearls abbas and ammas of the African desert
had strung in ancient times.
Those men and women who
all skin and bones and dry as dust
exchanged the world in return for their souls.
It was the sort of book to change your life.
Next morning I woke up alive.
(I had not been for a while.)
Weightless I rose, like an angel, from my bed.
Joy is an ether, I decided.
For while I slept the marrow had left my bones
and finding them hollow,
this sweet, buoyant substance had replaced it.
Back in the kitchen I gazed at the book
and wondered if by simply reading about detachment
I had somehow attained it.
Next I wondered how best to live (no deserts here)
in this new, enlightened state.
The day was sunny, if cool.
And because wooded land makes a fine venue
for any serious consideration,
I went for a walk.
Not five yards from the house I spied
a tiny feather lying on the ground,
the iridescent jetsam of an indigo bunting.
The feather crooked a blue finger and beckoned.
But when I bent to grasp it danced away
on a willy-nilly path determined by the breeze.
I followed, of course,
in a fever now to claim it.