Just In Time For The Tea Party


I've been laying awake behind my eyelids 
for so long tonight, 
but I finally find myself falling
off some magnificent, imaginary cliff face
into whatever world is willing to catch me

I fall first 
into an ocean, sinking eventually
onto a carpet of seaweed. 
there is a tea party about to begin, 
and the sea turtles who are gathering
invite me to join them.
they are about to say grace, 
and ask me to lead the prayer.
I’m preparing to speak, 
trying to conjure up something appropriate,
when my lungs suddenly fill with water. 
(how embarrassing! 
I’m so sorry!
I haven’t had much practice in saying grace!)

I fall next
into a kitchen that is not my own
(I know it is not my own, 
because the walls are purple, 
which is a color that I would never 
paint a kitchen).
I am responsible for hosting
a dinner party that is to begin
very, very soon. 
I haven’t begun cooking. 
upon finding out that the oven is broken
and the stove won’t light, 
I decide to serve peanut butter.
the guests show up in fancy cloths—
pearl earrings and silk gowns—
and laugh when they see the meal. 
it doesn’t matter
because they are not my friends;
my friends wouldn't have minded

falling still, 
I land in a church.  
the priest is talking about 
the mysterious workings of God, 
and I find myself shouting, 
“yes! yes! yes!”
the priest is pleased by 
my enthusiasm for the scripture, 
not knowing that I wasn’t listening. 
I saw the most striking sunbeam 
come through the stained-glass window
behind him. it bounced off the wall 
with such confidence, such grace, 
that I couldn’t keep from crying out.
if the priest only would’ve looked back 
at that moment, 
maybe he, too, 
could’ve seen the light

I am pulled back 
into consciousness—
jolted awake into a reality 
where the other occupants
know me by name.
I smile, 
thinking about how my friends here 
would eat plain peanut butter 
quite happily


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