Sunday, 24 December 2017

The Sacred Silver Coin

by Judith Michaels Safford


Inside this brain
sharing space with the hippocampus and amygdala
holding the episodic and emotional memories,
lives a silver coin always positioned
heads up, I win, tails you lose side.
It might as well be called sacred, I protect it so.
Weightier it grows with embellished telling,
at least, providing fodder for poetry.

Lists and lists of names categorized
‘done to me.’
Funny
a coin, to even be a coin, must have two sides
and yet, both cannot be seen at once.
Heaviness weighs me down like Mary Oliver’s words
“…heavier than iron it was as she carried it in her arms,
from room to room, oh, unforgettable!”
This sacred silver coin contracts
my heart, liver, lungs, and aching arms.
It cripples me.

Written, prayed, talked about,
processed, burned in ceremony,
Why does it stay?
Perhaps I’ll employ a
silversmith to melt all blame away.

“What you feed stays,” they say,
like a hungry feral kitten
coming back again to feed, not tamed, or
the javelina and his family grabbing at
any grounded fruit or garbage, ready to knock down
or dig under whatsoever is in its way.
It will not be stopped with its boar like head
and fangs in spite of its narrow butt.

David Carse implies there need be
no coin, because there is no me.
“The invitation here is precisely to stop telling
the story…it is left without polishing, without retelling,
to crumble into the thin air whence it came.”
My little one inside clutching to her breast
her coin
her story book
heavy though it be
simply cries to be seen
and held by me.                          


* * * * *

In 2006, Judith Michaels Safford discovered a radio program on writing poetry. She followed the prompts and mustered up the courage to press the send button. She was invited to read and a door was open that had not previously existed. She finds that her emotions express more easily through poetry. Judith self-published her memoir in 2009. Don’t Sell Your Soul, Memoir of a Guru Junkie. Encouraged by a published poet-friend, she embarked on self-publishing a book of prayer poems. Joyful Surrender, A pilgrimage. Judith continues to practice a 23-year career as a licensed massage therapist. Today her home is Glenwood, New Mexico, where artists of many kind reside. Touching others with hands and poems brings a tremendous satisfaction of purpose to her life.