Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Pieces of Me

i grew up on a culdesac
where a fig tree grew
and a horseshoe trail darted into the woods
it was there i was taught to ride my bike straight
and how to climb down a riverbank
to small rocky islands
i buried a bag of coins in the garden out back
and never found it again later
i made “soup” with sally at the fence,
popped impatiens seeds with my mama
and hid from my brother in the laundry drawer for hide n seek
all my friends had two story houses
i begged my way into one at fourteen
and thought i’d arrived
a pool and a staircase
and a room that smelled of a stinky pear tree in the spring
i did somersaults four days a week, three hours a day
and begged for mexican pizza on the way home
none of us got boobs until fifteen
also didn’t have a boyfriend til then
the boys turned out to be rotten anyway
i cried through most of junior high
when my perms finally grew out
life got a little better
i spent much of my time
walking down a ramp to a room that use to be a pool
now i gathered there to meet jesus
and people who acted a little more like him than most
my heart got healed
life didn’t get much better
but my insides did
i learned my hands were made to serve
my eyes were made to see with compassion
and my mouth had a gift to give truth
i got brave and cut my hair up past my ears
a look my husband still makes much fun of
i carved out my life in the blue ridge
at lovill, then ivy hall, then banner elk
there i became much of who i am
ten years later
i lived under the face of grandfather
and i wrote on a porch where i could hear
from my purple brazilian hammock
my mind reeled from one truth to the next
and all of it came flowing out in words
over a turtle in the place i discovered
a bud for coffee
i left there after lost infatuation
and soon found love in a husband
who drove me a long ways over mountains and down long roads
to a place that made me cry
from the sight of it
pruning snapdragons and diasias
the mauve building held me in
asia put its move on me
after two years i grew a second love,
obsessing over kimchi eaters and the politeness of japan
the rains called us north
past mt shasta, past crater lake,
past any longitude i’ve ever settled in
another culdesac and a secret path
this time with evergreens all around
to cover over my loss of our first
on walks i memorized the names of fireweed and lupine
and then watched them get bulldozed down
we found a place called mars hill
and finally realized much that is now obvious and good and right
jesus being the point of it all
my belly grew again
this time a double blessing
prophesied by our pastor’s wife in zechariah
i layed flat as a board, thinking and writing
puking and practicing stillness
til they came with the gushing off the side of a hospital bed
i became in fullnesss what was begun in my heart: a mama
and i rejoiced
from the fig tree
to the impatiens
to the pear tree
to the diascias
to the fireweed
the pieces of me grew up into the “she” that i am
kelly christian chandler
who became
kelly chandler cowan
the she who has become
some of what she was intended to
some of what she was not
and all of which is intertwined to be
who i am