I dug up my totem pole yesterday.
It had been sitting in the middle
Of my ex girlfriend’s living room
Looking shriveled and neglected.
No one was home so I went in
With a variety of shovels and sheers
And dug and dug
Until the carpet was uprooted
And the bedrock foundation had been cracked
And dirt was seeping through the newly formed fissures.
After considerable push and pull
I unearthed it completely
Then carried it out over my shoulder
Without looking back.
There is a glade behind my house
With craggy trees, bramble
And a thin little creek trickling
Off toward somewhere.
I found a flat spot of earth
And placed the totem there
Carving a hole into the soil
Planting it firmly until it neither
Swayed nor rattled in the wind.
When finally I completed my task
When finally it stood strong and motionless
I tied a rope around it
Fastening the other end to my waist
Laughing all the while.
And I danced
And I ran
And swung like a tether ball
Around and around the totem.
I did so until the moon
Was bobbing among the woods
Like a Chinese lantern,
And the squirrels had retired to their dens
And darkness enveloped the neighborhood.
In the morning I awoke
To the sounds of birds chirping and pecking
At its wood-carved faces.
With my coffee and my book of poetry,
I sat at its feet
The white blue Sun draped over my back,
Knock, knock, knocking
At its solid walnut bole
Breathing in and out
To the satisfying rhythm
Then, when my knuckles tuckered,
And my wrist grew tired,
I plopped against it,
Tipped my cap over my eyes
And napped until it seemed that
My spine had fused with the totem itself,
Until there was no arguing
No quibbling or questioning
That I was anything but centered,
Anything but happy,
Anything but home.