You don't need a sweat lodge stripping your secrets bare. You don't need a hailstorm drilling you hellward. You don't need the hands of a priest, the call of the wild, a mikvah, a marriage, a set of inscrutable symbols branded on your skin. You don't need your past tossed into the fire, or a drum beaten to oblivion. You don't need grief. You don't need drowning. You don't need silence. You don't need a fist squeezing your throat breathless. You don't need to flay yourself before your jurors, a moment of truth before your god, your story guillotined before the riotous pleasure of a taunting crowd. No. You need the great splintering yawn of love. A touch that fractures you from the meagerness you keep believing you deserve. A kiss that springs you from your long-paid penitence. You need the blood-striped bulbs of the amarylis. The sugar from an orange sliced into eighths. You need that bead of sweetness on your tongue, a brief but poignant reminder you have not scraped your heart for nothing. There is a song stirring in the distance, like when the palms sway in Hawaii in a late afternoon rain that brings a twinkle of windchimes. It is coming for you, slow but impeccably sure. It is carrying new words, a language you haven't yet learned but which will - when it arrives - feel like it's lived inside of you forever. It has. The beginning has already begun. Your mouth has memorized those syllables. Your cheeks are blushing with that music. While you've been away, fighting your nameless, ageless war, your whole body has been tuning itself to sing.
painting by mark rothko