Praying with Fringes 11/22/2013 – Parting the Red Sea

Parting the Red Sea
Ellie Schoenfeld

My fingers swim
through red clay seas
that I am parting
to plant tulips.
The earth is cold
because I have waited
till the last minute.
I am thinking
this is an act of faith,
an affirmative to Einstein’s question
“is the universe a friendly place?”.
Yes, except for the squirrels
who ate all Yvonne’s bulbs
and she lives close to me.
She bought new ones
and soaked them in something
squirrels don’t like.
She told me about this
while there was still
ample time to learn
from her experience.
But I didn’t soak these.
They are my prayers.
Last minute.
An on-the-edge reckless dare
I will take their growth
or demise as a sign,
a message either way
from the spirits
who are probably unimpressed
with the spiritual weight
with which I am sinking
these bulbs into the earth.
Spirits who could be dancing
in these maple leaves,
laughing at my solemn garden religion,
surfing through altars of mulch.
If someone asks me
what I believe in,
I say “tulips.”

from The Dark Honey © Clover Valley Press, 2009

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