a brown blanket of leaves covered the forest floor, and i trekked in my white cowgirl boots over the thorns, up and down the valleys, until i arrived at a strange effigy some other forest dweller built--a tomb of sorts, pointing up toward the heavens.
i was in limbo between a cancer diagnosis and a surgery. my vulva felt like bricks of density and a thousand cutting knives all at once. they say melanoma is painless, but when it comes from trauma, the phantom hurt can kill you.
"lay down," the cool ground whispered. "empty out." and the deep freeze of my body met the endless allowing of Earth, and the blue baby sky watched as i prayed for the ache to melt into golden-brown honey.
"use me. use me however you want. just take this pain so i can actually serve."
and the surgeon's name was dr. grace. and his silver hair and his khaki skin, blue eyes and affirming hand, moved like angel medicine cutting me out, sewing me up.
and the therapist's name was brigit. and her hands were like shapeshifting Earth, pressing into my feral elements, my endless emergencies, my emerging self-security, my vulnerable timidity.
and the lover's name was whisky, until it was music, until it was words. and he never asked anything of me, other than honesty.
and eventually, a small seed of life inside my body began to emerge like on the first day of spring after a winter full of snowfall wet the ground. like a tiny flame of desire, the smallest fire of want.
and i pressed my hands into someone else's body, someone less like me, more like Earth, and i felt the places where i couldn't even feel hurt, couldn't feel anything at all. and i felt small. so very small. and precious, and honest, and alive.