M.S. Rooney 

 

Swimming

In meditation,
we learn
to focus on breathing,
that rhythm that begins
from a source
we cannot own.

Sometimes, sitting,
I feel much the same
I did as a child
kneeling in a wooden pew,
papery host melting
on my tongue.

As Catholic children,
we were taught
that taking Communion
brought Jesus inside us,
not the bread symbol,
but the Son of God himself.

Transubstantiation.
I believed in it without doubt,
and that may have saved me then.
We were also taught
that we were not worthy,
and I believed that, too.

Kneeling in the pew then,
as the host dissolved,
I felt safe in the tunnel
of the Latin Mass,
felt closed inward,
in the arms of God.

Now, as then,
there is no pretending,
for I know I cannot trick
anything into being,
but instead of folding in
is a sense of unfolding.   

In Zihuatanejo years ago
I dared to dive
into the curl of a breaker,
was surprised to surface
in smooth waters
unharmed, swimming.

 


 

 

Vedanta Retreat Center, Olema


I was not a member, was a guest,
yet felt a sense of a home
reach out, encircle me there.

It was and was not

the glow of the oil lamp,
the yellow lilies and purple iris
in the clear glass vase
on the white altar cloth,

the warm, gravid quiet
of the room where I slept
beneath a bright Cold Moon
that winter night,

the scent of wet earth rising
as the pronghorn antelope
leapt before me on the path
the next morning,

the thick globe spider web
beaded with dew
that trembled beneath those hooves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

M.S. Rooney lives in Sonoma, California with her husband, poet Dan Noreen. Her work appears in journals, including Bluestem, The Cortland Review and Illuminations and Soul-Lit and anthologies, including Ice Cream (forthcoming from World Enough Writers), edited by Patricia Fargnoli. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.