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13 Ways Of Looking At The Yoga Retreat Center

Thoreau said, “We find only the world we look for.”

Then what world is this?

World where middle-aged ladies
shed layers and let themselves
a dream of a space
where bodies rest from
their stories
World of maple tree birds
and clatter from the kitchen
where (hallelujah) someone else
is deciding the fate of leftovers
World where, even on vacation,
some ladies cannot stop themselves
from striding with purpose
World where tiger lilies
congregate in the shade
and lawn mower drowns out
the chatter of lemon water addicts
World where afternoon is
the hour of opera practice
rising over the trees
Puccini on the breeze
World of Emily, benevolent ruler
in the world of Ayurvedic massage
her bare feet inked in
birds and flowers
and the ancient Greek words
for mercy and grace
World where a woman in faded flannel
greets the view with arms spread wide
as if she is here for lessons about flight
carried by last night’s dreams of birds
they guide her gaze to the lake below
and sing, Lift your plaid flannel wings
Catch the air, Glide.
World where one by one, more appear
singly or in small pairs
eyes sleepy, hands empty
hair in messy braids
holding only one thing, loosely
the incredible luck
to be here
World where everyone meets the little birds
chubby and well-fed and content
juxtaposed with us, mostly human,
mostly women, tending towards
sharply thin, tending towards
Seeking, with an intensity
unfamiliar to these birds
birds more closely characterized
as not seeking but browsing
Whatever else this world carries
it held this moment:
Women’s words falling like petals,
vowels all over the clean wood floors
while out the window
a man sings in the flowers
what can you do but smile
in this room of big music
A bell that continues to ring
World where, while the rest of us slept
someone raked the sand
into cool rows of
perfect beach front

Likewise, someone
washed the dishes
cleaned the bathrooms
is even now cooking
breakfast for the rest of us

while I write and
the girl in tie-dye
poses for a selfie
so the world will see
We, too, are awake
World where I get to sit beneath
a tree, then take this notebook, that tattered leaf
home to my adjoining world
World that taps our shoulders
Murmurs, Be mindful
birch rustles in sunlight
world carried on the breeze
world we each carry within

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