at the base of the mountain is mud

At the base of the mountain is mud




the kind that seeps into my crevices and cracks

that builds forts under my finger nails

stamps into the soles of my feet

oozes down my neck

under my arms

across my body


far from smooth silt

this mud is sedimentary

this mud is dirty

this mud has history


Before I was always looking for water




ethereal in quality

water that would allow me to climb

water that would absolve me


I had banished the bath

as soon as I thought I was too old

to let my brother see my naked

my mother had always liked her water warm

and so I hunted for the hottest showers

not caring

about dry skin

a frustrated father

global warming


I had always drank my tea


not willing to wait

for the water to cool down

to acknowledge

that the burned tongue

was my tongue


and that I was always falling


but this time something tells me

that I could wash with dirt

that it was not about what I washed with

but the way I washed

in slow circles, gently

up my shins, around my thighs

that I could cup my elbows

massage my shoulders

run my fingers through long, tangled hair

that I could kneel with my knees tucked under

hearting beating, breasts pressed against the earth, mother

moves inside of me


I am no longer afraid of pain

I am no longer afraid of shame

I am no longer afraid of never


reaching the top

I no longer needed to climb

the mountain


I am the mountain.


I have work to do

I have dancing to do

I have loving to do


And it does not matter whether you

will be willing to kiss the mud

on my belly.