An Autumn Ceremony by Kiki Dombrowski

Split yourself right down the middle:
celebrate academic and spiritual
collision on a Saturday afternoon.
Leave the ritual early
to make it to critique, arrive late.
Distract the class: release unbound
papers into the air, corners ripped
out for gum and phone numbers.
Have dirt on your hands from moving
stones, smell like a bonfire,
do not remove the moss and mulch
caught in the fibers of your sweater.

Let your hair be damp and wild,
weather is unpredictable and so are you.
When they ask where you’ve been
answer “An autumn ceremony.
Persephone gave me inspiration.”
Write a note about the hawk
that flew overhead with a snake
dangling in its talons. Render
metaphors about the snake
as an uncoiled noose rope. Keep chanting
in your mind: you are a circle,
within a circle. Shake a rattle.

Allow mugwort and tobacco to crumble
in the bottom of your book bag,
let it live in the creases of your notebook
which is full of assigned poetry prompts,
Mary Oliver quotes, circled stanzas
and underlined verbs. Keep your mind in ritual:
imagine the professor a magician, evoking
the spirits of stag, salmon, crow, and wolf.
Let the students close the ceremony
with a clap in each direction:
rituals and words are temporary
and so are you.


Date: 2021

By: Dombrowski, Kim (19??- )

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