By Patty Willis
Disasters are openings
in our armadillo skin
that keeps us safe from
cuts and scrapes
but steels us from everything else.
We can’t make that mighty push
that breaks the shell
or the patient tapping that takes
all our strength
until the moment we feel that lack of air
and a longing for oxygen
so great that we will do anything
We stop caring
that our faces turn ugly and purple
with the effort of pushing.
When we emerge,
you offer Gatorade
and point the way to showers.
Come and wash clean.
No need to speak of the passage
or our old lives.
This is where we want to be
finally, skin alive to the air,
our noses quivering with scents
like dogs and bears,
our ears tuned to the birds,
the earth revealed as holy,
calamity as grace.
Rev. Patty Willis is a minister, writer, artist and translator based in Arizona. She has also been active in immigration justice and reconciliation between white settler descendants and indigenous people.
Patty's other work on Foreshadow:
Pumping Station in the Desert (Poetry, July 2021)