Please be soft with me, I pleaded into the night, seeking solace in my ancient sisters resting so close above me. Somehow I’d managed to inhabit a home just underneath their warm yellow bodies. So near to me I could stand on my tippy toes and touch their long lustrous tails.
I don’t wish to intrude on such a captivating celestial gathering so I take my seat, amongst so many other animals to be sure, tucked within this nest in the trees. My cabin glows and hums along effortlessly without me in its belly. Puffs of smoke escape into the night sky and I follow them– one then two– up and up, up within the golden glow, nearly touching Orion’s belt. My body slinks further down in this observatory cocoon, in awe of this deliberate dream dance.
Not far behind, in a much wetter seat, a bullfrog sings its deep guttural song. I’m always comforted by these unsuspecting ballads, these late night lullabies in chorus with the whispering stars.
I remember him here with me. His head resting in my lap. His body limp in these righteous moments of loyalty we so rarely allows ourselves to surrender into. An allegiance among these trees and those stars and that there bullfrog and me. A devotion with the whole of it all. I could feel it synced up and singing between us. A fiery kind-of faith.
Laying at the mercy of these elements, all exposed and wanting, I whispered my prayer in unison with this sacred quartet– Oh please, please be soft with me.
*This poem is available in my book Soft With Me, printed and bound in Western North Carolina thanks to a grant from the N.C. Arts Council.