You always think if you were ever in a plane crash
you would manage to grab your precious carry-on
at the last minute wangle some way to take it all with you
in spite of stewardesses yelling to keep down
and take all sharp objects out of your pockets
But when it does happen it's not like that
your head between your knees as it was in the womb
hands grabbing ankles out of reflex not power
and you desperately hoping, waiting to land not in fire
or water, not in eternal air, but on the soft breast of earth.

Lughnasad, last violent thrust of growth crashing toward fall --
We've been pushing so hard so fast for so long
it seems our engines are half gone,
our wings are coming apart from our shoulders
the loads we carry will throw us into some deadly tailspin
if we dare to touch ground
With all this it will be a miracle if we can think to make seeds
for another season of our lives, let alone think to save them
everything has taken on that frantic all-or-nothing tone
Sisters, stay conscious, we are in charge of the exits
When the light starts to go out in August
when the heat of racing to complete our purpose
before winter, before 40, 50, 60, 70 years of age
before the last metamorphosis of time leaves us unhatched,
when heat makes our footprints curl, sets fire to our shadows,
sucks all breath from our bodies, all memory from our minds
it's time to open the doors to the moment that is still summer
to fruit that is still ripening, to the not-yet harvest
Open the doors and step into presence, into beauty
Lie wet and naked on the grass, look up into the trees and sky
It is still summer and then a slow and golden fall
and then a deep and healing winter
and in the right time, the right rhythm, another spring
Breathe in this moment. Die when death comes, not before


© Miriam Dyak 1998

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