, , , ,

The man bid us stand
and started speaking,
but I did not hear words,
no nouns or pronouns
or adjectives or verbs but
pushes and pulls
and that feeling you get
when you wake up from
a confusing dream
and the familiarity of
the textures and sounds
and smells of your home
floods you with clarity,
that feeling of being found.
There were no ends or
beginnings to his sentences,
only an ebbing of the thick air
charged with grace, where
every Amen from every mouth
was a ripple vibrating
from one consciousness
to the next.

My eyes were closed
and the images came.
I finally pinpointed
to the exact square inch
the source of my pain
and saw the color
of the future that felt
natural and not filtered
through the pixels of
a culture that fits who I am
if I crouch a little
and adjust the straps and
hold up the loose meanings
in place with safety pins.

It was not the words
but everything that did
not need to be said.
No stumbling in awkward pauses,
no borrowed nuances or
secondhand connotations.
I understood unconditionally
and without trying,
with all his phrases breathing
substance into things I could
actually touch and weep for
in real time, and no room
for ambiguity or repetition
or apology in case
the light offended somebody,
like undoing the layers
draped on faith’s shoulders
so its skin can receive the sun.

And I was understood.
As if my heart had willingly
awakened and followed
that prayer’s path to the Divine.

I may never be able to write
any part of it down,
but my newly freed soul
is a transcription of everything
that was said.

“Karina” by photographer Sergei Birukov


You might also like: