Orion will teach me the answers
to questions I ask through chattering teeth.
Diffused along the smoky veil of my condensed breath,
diluted among the ragged inhale of subsiding sobs.
Barefoot under the thin shadow of a moonlit dogwood tree I endure the sharp winter air. My small body squatted, legs tucked inside my pound puppy nightgown.
I perch, practiced, on tiptoe to escape frigid contact with the frosty ground.
When Orion is up there in the sky he holds my fledgling secrets.
He knows I must have a disgusting ungrateful little heart but he feels my longing to be loved and wanted for who I am.
With Orion I could reveal my worst self
and he would maybe love that part too.
Orion will teach me the answers
to questions I ask through rejection and fear.
Diffused along the smoky haze of stale cigarettes,
diluted among too syrupy sweet alcohol and self-confident teenage facades.
Bare legs in the oversized good-luck varsity basketball t shirt, I mentally escape my physical surrender.
My athletic body slack and awkwardly compressed onto the basement floor.
I’m systematically scanning the VHS shelves for somewhere to hide my mind away,
when Orion appears over head in the oblong frame of the subterranean window.
He witnesses my shame and he sees my longing to be loved and wanted for who I am. With Orion I could hide within my worst self
and he would still love that part too.
I research the answers that Orion won’t share
to questions unheard or ignored.
Diffused along “distant light over a hundred thousand times brighter than the sun”, diluted among “seven bright stars and a nebula in the vast intricate Milky Way”.
Bare chested and unwavering he aims his bow and arrow in heavenly suspended animation. His iconic star belt holds a cloudy nebula, a womb of interstellar gas and dust that births newborn stars.
He is a mother.
When Orion becomes information in the textbook
he is less real on the pages in the lecture hall than in the sky above the campus,
where he observes the desperate lengths of my longing to be loved and wanted for who I am. With Orion I am fully become my worst self
and he loves that part too.
I’ll wait a thousand light years for Orion to tell me the answer.
To a question it takes a thousand light years for him to even hear. Diffused along everlasting time,
diluted among eternal space.
But Orion would tell these answers I pondered in moments of stillness.
Diffused along deep clarifying vapors of medicated chest rub, diluted among sleepless nights and mental fog.
Bare headed baby cradled to my engorged breast, my maternal body alive, provides food and comfort.
I’m tapping a tempo on the porch swing and patting the small rounded back of subsiding fledgling sobs.
Now Orion is up in the sky with the crisp breezes of winter air. His presence comforts me as I soothe my child.
“ Here I know your longing to be loved”
I nestle down and whisper,
“and to be wanted for who you are”
I inhale the scent of his peach fuzz hair.
Within me I will be your Orion.
I will hold your secrets, I will witness your shame. You can reveal your worst self to me
and I will teach you to love that part too.
Liz Nelson is in full time law enforcement. She and her husband live on a small farm and raise cows, goats, turkeys, chickens, and guineas. They donate the butchered animals to the local soup kitchen. They have the joy of sharing life with their two witty, barefoot, somewhat feral little boys, 7 and 5. They all love ice cream, road trips, hiking, camping, and dancing to jam bands. Believing she is called to feed the homeless and needy she dreams of starting up a food truck to serve dinners, most likely spaghetti or quesadillas. This year she feels blessed to be recognizing the astounding lengths to which God has gone in order to make her feel His love and understand her purpose. Looking back at her heartbreak and suffering she sees how every step, even the painful and seemingly unimportant ones, were a deliberate part of His plan. She is exactly where she is supposed to be.