Growing Up and Down

I’m walking through a city

in the pale darkness, the shuffling shadows,

and the bright drunk faces

I pass parts of myself

scattered under awnings

The first, a violin player

crooning notes like pinball inside the walls

a place I once stood with

mandolin in hand and feet

so bare

and hair all blue, short,

and so on

The young man stands there playing with the loop pedal

and I ache for a violin

or to be standing where he is standing

Both

I pass the Hare Krishna’s moments later

Five or so, maybe ten

All holy people singing, we are all holy people

I listen and remember the many roads

I sang Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Rama Rama,

and how I sang it to the sky and all possibilities opening

like a small red journal with

Hare Krishna printed across the front

Pages I spilled my heart and guts across

cigarette burned song lyrics

Then at Ben’s,

more Hare Krishna music, but the kind that envelopes an apartment

and I have just arrived in Asheville and met a manchild that would

undo me swiftly and harshly and easily

Our lost child

His basement room singing

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna

some other holy music that made me weep again and again

And I can only now remember as a feeling

and the notes dance somewhere on the periphery

When we arrive at the drum circle and my feet are moving

so easily, so easily,

and as we get closer to the nucleus

that familiar central THUMP

I am thrown back to fires

by which I danced until the stars were merging with morning light

an uninhibited version of myself

Tied up in red bandannas and grinning across open flames

as my hips shook and feet grabbed

dry, ashy earth

An open, singular tent where I slept alone with Montana

the only thing that waited for me

in the world

Tonight, after buckling my daughter into her carseat

kissing my husband farewell, to see him at home

I felt the stirring of a violin beneath

my breastbone

and the calluses of many drum circles

stamped upon my feet

and the remembrance of

Hare Krishna

and all its holy song

still twisting it’s fragile notes

up and down the

sweetnesss

Like what you read? Give Monica Bethelwood a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.