April 04, 2019 2 Comments

By Shana Ross
after Erika Meitner, for JW


Bless this distress, my life hitting existential turbulence. Independently, the world seems to be going to hell. But I have awoken this morning.

Bless my certainty that I will not be able to keep up appearances today. Bless the decision, which barely surfaces to my consciousness, to go to the park. Bless the autopilot that drives me, and bless the idea that is a word that is SEEK that is seared into my brain, even though I am not sure what I’m looking for. 

Bless the sour breath I take as I step out of the car in the parking lot, flavored by the tension in my shoulders, the steel cage made from my own flesh that keeps me upright, a pain I ignore like a shark ignores the constant motion of survival.

Bless my ability to tell the difference between this breath and the one before.

Bless the decision to be here, to choose a walk in the woods, to flail instead of sinking, to try anything new, to follow through and take my body to carry out my intentions.

Bless the infinite ways humans can interact with the world’s beauty.

Bless my first breath on the trail, of honeysuckle, familiar sweetness, plentiful.

Bless the second band of fragrance on the breeze, the wild roses that grow by the stream, and the pause in my steps on the footbridge, even though I have barely started to walk. Are these really roses? What do I know about roses and wild roses? I ask the small stream that tumbles so fast its motion cannot be captured on my iphone, guaranteeing it cannot be killed and pinned to a page as proof of existence.

Bless the losing of my train of thought in the running water.

Bless the meadow to my right as the trail veers to the left and heads into the forest.

Bless the blurred lines between grass and hay, the scent overlapping like bodies in a pas de deux.

Bless the dogshit that comes next.

Bless the woods, the spice of pine, the velvet decay of damp dirt, the dappling of everything as unfelt breeze flies above and rustle of one animal and then next.  Bless the crawling of my skin as it remembers this place.

Bless my neighbors who walk faster or started sooner and make my increasing liberation not solitude.

Bless the gigantic black spider who crosses my path and bless my foot that alters its course and does not meet it and bless my lack of curiosity that does not stop me in my tracks for a closer look.

Bless my looping path that brings me back at the end to repeat: dogshit, hay, roses, honeysuckle.

Bless the car keys I have not lost.

Bless my fear and hesitation to leave, to leave so soon, to return.

You shall take in.
You shall be satisfied.
And you shall bless.

I know blessing and prayer and words and ritual and body and grace and anguish and contentment and supplication. I suspect they are not one thing, but as I travel through them I cannot find their edges, and they mix on my tongue in new blends with every breath.




Shana Ross is a poet and playwright with a BA and MBA from Yale University. She bought her first computer working the graveyard shift in a windchime factory, and now pays her bills as a consultant and leadership expert. Since resuming her writing career in 2018, her work has been published in or is forthcoming from Anapest Journal, Anatolios Magazine, Apricity Press, Chautauqua Journal, Ghost City Review, The Hellebore, Indolent Press’ What Rough Beast project, Mad Scientist Journal, metafore, SHANTIH Journal, Street Light Press, The Sunlight Press, Voice of Eve, and Writers Resist.














Psst, here's another one: Poem in Which Jesus Christ Sprains his Knee Fishing in Bethsaida



Photo by Sandis Helvigs on Unsplash


2 Responses

Erica P.
Erica P.

April 10, 2019

Bless the opportunity to take this journey with you.

Beautiful work Shana.

JoAnne Braley
JoAnne Braley

April 09, 2019

I believe St Francis would like your poem! I know I do.

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