In this winter celebration
we laugh and weep and prepare food
and sing a song of desire.
My song becomes a prayer –
that my family and friends withstand the isolation
and overcome their fear of death
so they may live for a thousand years
and care for their great, great grandchildren,
each baby a small seed in their teeth,
a sprout on their tongue,
spit into the fertile earth.
Second, that the body
can withstand a thousand years
so our hips widen
into a new way of seeing,
our thighs open into the darkest
cave of understanding.
My prayer asks for our spine to remain
straight as a white birch,
like soldiers rooted in purpose –
that we understand
we all belong to each other,
the newborn reaching for the hard nipple
and the old man reaching for the gun,
like the swallow belongs to the oak tree,
Like the broken soul belongs to every prayer,
hopeful as they are,
hopeful as we all are together
dancing inside each other’s dreams.