Tricia Knoll is a Portand poet, retired from many years of communication work for the City of Portland. She has degrees in literature from Stanford University (BA) and Yale University (MAT). Her poetry and haiku appear in numerous journals and several anthologies. Her chapbook Urban Wild looks at human and wildlife interactions, mostly within the Portland city limits. Her forthcoming book, Ocean’s Laughter (Aldrich Press, December 2015), combines lyric and eco-poetry in a book about beaches and life Manzanita, Oregon.
The minister intones Come, come whoever you are. Come as you are nimble who limp straight who are gay sad wearing glad rags damp with your tears scuffed boots, graying at roots Bring your bunions, bursitis and bone spurs warheads, dreads, hunger, indifference, despair. Come if you think you have little to share, the tide of our breath mingles your share in the air. Our tribe of women don full-body capes the tall one, red velvet the short one, gray lamb’s wool the plump one, green corduroy wales a white-haired, deep purple with pockets one in gold, matching her guide dog and more choosing somber wraps for the cold hugging bone, dropping their watches, untieing their braids, chanting on entering barefoot come softly give to the light naked as we brought in our babes, forward in the blood of our mothers. They file into pews, dropping their cloaks, bare-breasted, full-bodied, witnesses to love over sorrow, their hum of aum and of ah for each their unnamed god ascends in beeswax light, faint spirals of smoke of the smudge, to blend in the chorus of green winter song, a promise of birthing in honest air.
Previously published in Adanna Literary Journal Women & Spirituality Fall 2015