“…awake in the collective”

This past February I celebrated my 40th year on this earth.

On that occasion, my brother Seth (more of soul than of blood) gave me a gift in the form of these words.  They are words I return to often, but now seven month later I am just beginning to see that these are not just words to mark an occasion.

These are words to mark a life.

Earlier this week he reminded me of these words, and I thought it would be proper to share.

There are kin-lights recognizable
in the best brothers–
the spark of saints’ names spoken,
wive’s held like own Aphrodite’s,
Somali-starred stories,
the memory of the frailest soul lost,
the mention of village where
daughters, nieces, neighbors, sisters
were born into an acquired taste for
air, for our wounded lungs, for the
notion of forgotten,

Gather you fires–
awake in the collective–
rare though it gathers,
short though it’s lived,
small though it seems;
We are.

Lights are again and again,
like the ashes of last year’s
Lent, and next year’s,
the dogged birthmarking
of our natures, best and worst,

Gather you fires best–
awake in the collective–
in the feasting, in
communion wine, and there
find that we together are
more than ashes.
We are,
a briliant, unforgettable

…thank you Seth.  You have given me something that time will never weather and a guide that will lead me through any storm.

I am beginning to see the faint shadows that could mark the awakening of a collective.


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