A Different Answer



This week, I'm sharing a new, work-in-progress poem. The catalyst was my friend Phillip Estes's new book of the same title. My early edition, bespoke copy arrived Thursday. The twelve-inch parchment pages were bound with copper rings and an embossed aluminum cover and enclosed in a hand-crafted wooden box. Typically, I'm one to tear through packaging to get to the contents as quickly as possible. In this case, I knew I was holding something sacred, and I needed to savor that feeling of sacredness for as long as I could. I held the box on my lap and let myself feel the weight of its contents. I read the note Phillip had attached, taking time with each word. Then I slowly lifted the latch to open the box, which was lined with silver-speckled tissue paper. I wondered if Phillip had chosen that pattern just for me. I unfolded the tissue to reveal the words inscribed in the metal cover, A Different Answer.


Even without turning to the first page, I felt emotion tugging at my heart, imploring me to linger on these three words. That evening, I placed Phillip's words in the center of my journal and they started magnetizing words, images, memories, snippets of stories that I hadn't thought to connect.


And now, a poem is forming. My wish is that there's a spark of healing in here for you, the way that Phillip's words sparked a new dimension for me. My second wish is that you will share those sparks in your own unique way.


Sending love always in all ways,

Jennifer


 

A Different Answer


She said to me,

“If you want a different answer,

You’re going to need to ask

Different questions.”


What is this world?

What is this world?

What world is this?

Lingers on morning fog

And dusky evening sky.


As if the mind could grasp

An answer that was real.


As if the pathway to healing was

A puzzle to solve,

A problem to fix,

And not a wholeness to feel.

To heal is to make whole.

Healing is wholing.


Healing is wholing.

Healing is wholing.

And wholing is possible

Because I am

All of me.

Because we are

All of us.

Because all is.

Healing is possible because

All is

Always.


I lie down and feel the pulse of pain

Coursing through me and

Why is this happening?

Why is this happening?

Why is this happening?

Running through my head.


Then, a shift.

From Why is this happening?

To How can I move forward?

A new possibility.


When I let go of the urgency in my body,

I begin to sense the lightness

Of dissolving into everything

And nothing at the same time.

Is this what it feels like at the end?


When I close my eyes,

The screen flickers,

Then dancers in beige linen

Twirl across a raw oak floor.

Jubilant, comes as an answer

To a question I hadn’t yet posed,

Welling tears in the chalice of my heart.


When my daughter asks,

“Do you like when I’m at your house

Or do you like when I’m not at your house?”

I tell her that I like it when she’s at my house

And also when she’s not.


I know it isn’t the answer she’s looking for.


“That’s literally the most you response,”

she counters with an eye roll and a laugh.


I tell her that of course I prefer when she’s with me,

But she asked a different question.