Clearing the Air
The Muse is at the back door tonight.
She comes in without a sound,
I was at the fridge,
looking for more food to eat.
The ‘eat less during the pandemic’
meal plan isn’t quite working out for me.
When I turn my gaze to her,
her eyes are throwing sparks
like golden arrows around her face.
She glistens in a strange, hazy glow.
How fascinatingly beautiful
this Muse is to me.
She is a chameleon, ever-changing,
yet somehow consistent. A riddle.
A late rain pounds, my heart pounds.
With her hands she makes dramatic
sweeping gestures towards the door.
“What are you doing?” I ask
“Clearing the air” she replies.
Of course, I think to myself.
Everyone who waves their arms around
is clearing the air,
why haven’t I tried that? lol
She changes the radio station.
I hear the first cords of Kate Wolf,
Inviting us to give ourselves to love
if love is what we are after.
Dang that song makes me weepy.
In an uncharacteristic act of tenderness,
the Muse pats my arm with her hand.
She eyes the wishbone necklace
worn smoother with time on my chest.
She nods towards it,
a talisman between us.
She touches it tenderly.
She is so close, this intimacy
feels almost threatening.
She begins to speak slowly
with mischief in her eyes
“Did you ever notice how
much a wishbone looks like a clitoris?”
“No, I have not” I say a bit sarcastically.
What will I have to give up
to listen to the Muse this time?
She looks me in the eye and whispers,
“Love requires everything you’ve got.
You have to give yourself to it.
No one can put the past behind them.
Put your past beneath you.
UNDER YOUR FEET!
Compost your pain into the rich soil of life.
Stand on it, walk on it, grow things out of it!
Your past is a foundation for strength.
With your past positioned behind you,
it chases you, a demon at every turn
reminding you that you have been broken.
Yes, you are broken, broken open,
a seed sprouting out of its hull,
a baby bird cracking out of an egg.
Not broken up, like glass breaking,
or a marriage crashing down.”
I close my eyes
and imagine the tangle of grief
that chases me move…
move beneath my feet.
I use my hands to move it,
like she used her hands to clear the air.
My guts relax their gripping.
How long have I been holding that?
My shoulders drop.
The Muse begins to rant—or is it rap?
“This metaphor ‘put the past behind you’
must be put in the do-gooder dungeon
in this catch-phrase-assumptive
with all the other faulty psychology
about the masculine and the feminine.
Jung got his best ideas from a woman, you know.
Don’t get me started.
You know how people say,
‘Everything happens for a reason’?
“That is a lie—I call bullshit!
Stop trying to tidy up the chaos.
Chaos is first matter, blackness
and beauty, Prima Materia
which is where everything begins.
There is a plan, dear one,
a plan that includes chaos,
glory, and grace all smooshed up together—
and you don’t get to know the plan!”
I laugh a little and exhale.
The safety pin feeling on my heart
unhooks with a pop. POP!
I make buttery popcorn
and pour us a cold beer,
followed by chocolates from
She wants to educate me
on just how big the clitoris is,
she tells me ‘size matters’
as she cackles with popcorn
in her teeth.
We giggle like girls
and it feels good.
I head to the studio.
Everyone is already in bed.
I confront a blank canvas.
I start by breathing my buttery
chocolate breath onto it.
I chant to myself
“My past is beneath me”
as I paint the action that affirms
that this is so – the past is beneath me.
I imagine the air behind me,
now cleared of my past.
My feet start to believe it first.
I walk differently,
with less apology and more
If the past is no longer chasing me,
what freedom could come through me?
We shall see….
Change has come to my door
and I let her in.
From the Wishbone Tattoo book by Shiloh Sophia, formerly known as Muse at the Back Door. This book is coming out as soon as I can finish publishing it myself or find a fiction agent or publisher. In the meantime, I will serve you up morsels of goodness to snack on.