spoon of self

When carving the spoon of self
some cut, others polish
but most never finish
leaving half-shaven sticks
strewn about summer camps.

But I seem to sand
repeated rubs, rusty reminders
wearing at the grain
with worn-out paper bits.
I’m wasting time, probably.

Still I can’t seem to stop
it’s purposeful, somehow
courageous, I crouch in a corner
just outside their talking
sanding
alone
watching.

With each rub I am farther
and farther from finishing, polishing
but I keep sanding by day.
By night I sleep deeply, dreams
occasionally stabbed by
sharp knives.

With rumination forever slowing
completion dims, aspirations choking
the spoon sits for weeks
shoved away in a desk.

It was supposed to be a belated birthday
present to the world.
It was supposed to be perfect.

***

It’s my mother who finds the spoon in a drawer
I’m not ready, I tell her.
I need to work on it some more
but the time had come to give it as a gift
for neither of us ever thought I’d keep it.

We rubbed the spoon with the oil
of a walnut till its rings shown
blonde and brunette, than we wrapped it
in a red dress.
It was ever so pretty
but it was never going to feed me
or anyone else properly.

I had not chosen this project
and did not want another
but spoonless now, and starving
I knew I needed to carve a bowl.
A new container for my many selves
my soul.

Though the spoon came from a branch
this bowl would come from the base of a tree
and though it would be made of the lightest wood
it would carry everything I need.

This bowl would be big enough
to curl my body in
it would be a playground
a place to explore, dance, swim.

In this bowl I could morph from self to self
without the chase
without fear or guilt
a wooden fiber-woven embrace.

In this bowl I could find myself
fragmented, like cereal, I could sink
into milky fog, spilt into a dozen parts
and still see the whole.

I have only eaten out of this sort of container
but though I have yet to carve it
I know we can all live in its cradle.

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