Muddy Selves

is it called stretching, this losing layers
of mud in growth’s fires,
our pilgrimage of self-in-world?

have this much to learn, casting
fingers like fallen
pollen cones into the bowl
that all our yesterday’s haze
turns ’round in

as if the being studied
becomes a thin similitude of smoke
whenever we swim our reflections
toward the shoreway of its brilliance
through the night

so then, shall we strip in discovery
as ambiguity drips like ashes
off our faces,
and the clear room of rain
seen through our muddy selves
gives us its calming bathing?

make like the gifts of those plants
growing in porcelain cracks,
shamans healing this burning sand
with births of green leaves
and being, unprotected,
amidst all other cries of distress,
may embrace its listening
with a silence of petals to open


(c) J. Celan Smith