There is poetic medicine in the deep breath
of early morning mountain air,
barely warmed by the sun
coming up over some tall peak
on the slopes of the Eastern Sierra’s.
The dry scent of high desert sage,
its sweetness filling every pore of my being.
There is poetic medicine in bright, clear sunlight,
slanted at just the right angle in late summer,
just before autumn arrives
to tuck plants and trees in,
with the gift of deep, restorative sleep.
Then again, there is medicine in the earth
waking up, nourishing new shoots
as they push their way up
through the living soil
to brighten the world with color and fragrance.
There is medicine in standing on some
unnamed cliff, on the rugged Mendocino coast
breathing salt-laden air, feeling
a gentle sea breeze whispering
life’s mysteries in my ear.
There’s medicine in the exuberance
and innocence of my dog Molly
and here sister, Sophia,
in the absolute trust I see
in their expectant eyes
as they look so intently at me.
And there is deep medicine in my husband’s
at the humor of life, his eyes
sparkling and dancing
at his own private joke.
All of these things touch me, feed me.
This is my medicine.
The first time it happened, my heart stopped
My world stopped.
You were barely more than a fetus
Born at twenty-three weeks
Your body disintegrating
With every touch of our enormous hands.
Throat filled with a tube
The constant cycling of air
Pumping your shattered lungs.
I could not catch my breath
As I breathed along with the ventilator.
The speed was the speed of desperation.
Through the maelstrom of glaring lights and noise
You opened your eyes,
You looked right past my body
Dropped down past my tired and tearless eyes
Right into my heart, unannounced.
You were the first to arrive there
And I knew you.
You held me for a moment, naked, revealed
My heart wings unfurled beneath your piercing gaze
While another part, like the dark, rubber-like wings of a bat
Tried to drape me in shame.
I placed one finger within the curling grasp
Of your tiny, pink-red hand
And being touched
By another human being.
Biography: Christine Lacedra is a retired RN who spends her days in her cabin by the McKenzie River in Oregon, writing poems about the healing power of nature.