Incandescent Road – a storycito

I see a strange light coming

from this ragged roadway tonight.

I follow the glow out your kitchen window.

I walk and walk, listen, sniff the air,

and I begin to see.

I see that the places where it has been

broken open in the black pavement

are glowing. Incandescent.

I feel the moaning of hearts beneath my feet.

Because of this feeling, my body cannot help but

surrender itself

there in the space between the pavement

and the fields of old vines and the black

bowled breast of the sky.

I whisper tender reassurance

into the hollows and roots

hoping they will reach your doorstep

and enter into any loveless rooms

of your casa. Mi casa. Nuestra casa.

My fingers brush away the

stray hairs of loss

from 0ur wrinkled little brows.

My forehead longs for

my mother’s thumb on my temples.

Tiny rocks imprint

my cheeks with little invisible

messages that smell like the color green.

Leaves tattoo my body.

Earlier I tossed my wish laden rose

petals onto the creek – is this road the

pathway to my wishing, so soon?

Is this how it begins? Does

transformation always begin

with a little love death?

Shhh…I am listening. Are you listening

with me Beloved? Do you hear?

My tears trail into the tangled

grasses and water them.  I keep the dew-kissed

tip of one golden grass between my lips,

plugged into the earth’s wisdom.

I wonder, why must I do this work

by the side of this road?

This road, both familiar and

unfamiliar is not always a welcome

exit on my journey.

I know the dotted yellow

line in the middle is still

my compass away and towards.

I know the old coke can, the raven feather,

the rusted bolt and the dogbone

and the dirty rag and the pacifier

and the sageplant and the footprints

and the tiny yellow flowers that part

the pavement live here together in harmony,

where I am now learning

to live myself alive again. Side by side.

Sorrow and love. Joy and despair. Hope and loss.

My moon stains my thighs red with an ending

of one cycle and the opening to the next.

The strange light is

both lavender and green and gold,

and is not just going in one direction,

it is coming in and going out

of the openings and cracks. Ahhhh….

So this is how it is.

Some of us are glowing

and some of us have grown dim from

bruising uninteneded

and caused by careless words

and actions like dull hammers

thumping on tender places.

Some have lost their alma fuego

from too much pleasure

and some not enough.

But I have tired of these

kind of poetic explanations. (sigh)

I strain to ‘hear’ what I do not hear.

I beg. I am not beyond begging.

I will the ground to rise and meet

my expectant ear, I am looking and listening

for a sign, a sound, a humming

that will save my life and  yours.

A canto jondo, the deep song

that wrecks and wakes and widens

the closed chambers of the heart.

I cross myself and see the image

of Our Lady in a constellation.

She sees me. I see her. I see you.

I am going to survive this night for us.

I want to show you the sacred humming.

But first I have to locate its

origin here beside the curb

of my lover’s roadway.

It is my job to bring back the

little wisdoms, the storycitos

from the stones and seeds

and swords and sidewalks and splinters.

I wait. I wait because of you. Because I love you.

I wait because the my Lord’s love is in me.

I hear, but only the silence of the stars.

An occasional howl chills me.

I fight the desire for a wolf to come

and get me so I can catch a ride home or

devour me for a midnight snack. I sleep.

I fight the desire to want to stop feeling.

It is so very cold here.

But I practice welcoming this shadow of angst because

it tells me I am alive.

In the heavy misted hanging down darkness

headlights come and go

but do not notice

the moonless map of my pale body

stretched between worlds like

a curandera who will use night gravel

to make milagros in the morning.

I dream of a crown of bones,

and a skirt of scorpions and a

dress stitched of Fall

golden green colored leaves.

I wake up

knowing what I knew

but knowing it newly:

There is no true

language for “this”

though our poetry

tries the mightiest pen

upon this page and honors

this endless quest with eager words.

I mark my body with the blood of this knowing

so I will not let myself forget.

Listen now to what you already know:

The places that ache in us the most

are not the ones named for

someone or something that is known.

But something that is unknown in us.

For many, most, all? of us?

Here is our ache:

The internal disbelief

of being missed, not seen,

not heard, not known.

To be known,

for longer than an hour

or a day. To be

seen in the way one

sees oneself, truly. Beneath

the shame and lack of self love,

and childhood stories, and

deaths and divorces and dream dashed days,

beyond the endless quest for a romantic

beginning and ending to the story,

there lives in us

a knowledge of true self

that never ceases to

want to make itself seen, somehow. Somehow.

Since we broke water and parted the veils

of our mother’s womb with tiny fists of fuego,

we have always known. God placed this seed in

us so that those who choose to grow, can,

even on the coldest night you have ever known.

We need to be seen. To be known.

We can have love and not

have ‘this’ and not survive

the stilted bonds of each other.

If only we knew how to see! To listen. To taste.

To feel and say the sounds that belong to that feeling.

If we lose the desire to be known,

surely we shall die of mediocre poison

from eating forbidden fruits and carne

left to rot in the ditches

even the hyenas left for muerte.

My disbelief in how ‘this is’

both ruins and sustains me.

So this is life. Por lo tanto, esta es la vida.

This broken open ragged

hopeful incandescent road of the heart.

So this is how it goes.

I taste morning on my tongue.


I gulp some of the lingering milky way

from the nipple in the sky offered me,

so that I have strength

for the rest of the journey.

My heart’s hum leaps me up

from the holy gravel

and begins to run

down the middle

of the road.

My forgotten wings extend

into light and cast off the dew and the dawn.

I gain momentum.

Casting off gravity.

Heart open like

a ready wound


wanting. Nothing

wanting. Everything.

Willing to risk.


As many times as it takes.

To feel and be alive.

To find you.

To tell you the truth.

To see you.

To know you.

For this I will reason I

never cease to do the

work of finding you.

And each time I find you

I will remember to tell you.

I see you. I see you. I see you.

We see because we look,

and we show ourselves, shining selves,

when we are looked upon

with love.

My wish for you,

for me, for all, to be

looked upon with love unending.

May you be seen.

Known. Cherished. Loved.

May the road teach you

the stories that are yours to tell,

and may you be free enough to tell them

and transform yourself on the dark nights

of teaching under the stars.

©2012 Shiloh Sophia

Photo by Jose Manuel