Shelley Girdner: The blue hood

Since I was born, I’ve been praying to something blue
and hooded inside me, straight from the cave

where early people gathered praying, too,
towards something they couldn’t name.

It was invisible and mine, sure and mysterious
as an internal organ.

Once when we walked past a church with a virgin statue out front,
my son said, that is you, as if he too had seen the hood.

But that was before. For the first time, I’ve searched
and can’t find the thrum, the ancient curve and the comfort

it carried inside me my whole life like a sail.

Some of those people who once gathered
must have left before.

Wandered through hills on their own.
The staggering vulnerability of the flat plains.

There must be such thing as coming back,
I tell myself, seeing only the soot marked cave,

the emptiness that was always inside of what it held.



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