*Lagniappe — Bessie Senette

 

The Color Green

 

The color green
Forms a core of strength in cruciform
At the bridge of her nose
She holds her infant
Gently in the crux of her arm
Swaddled there sleeping

Praying for a boy child
Born into a world of hate
Troubled
She reaches for heaven’s gate

Calling down
Ancestors, angels, and grace
To remember him now in this
Space of peaceful bliss

To walk with him
When what it means to be him
Awakens to what others think he is

Swirling violet ribbons into her love prayer
As they answer her desperate call
The ancients, spectral wisp
Gather around, above and below
Dispelling doubt and tantalizing hope

She knows to teach him how to stand
Means watching him fall
Watching him break
Watching him forget

This moment
“This placement in faith.”

 

after Dennis Paul Williams’ “Placement in Faith” from “The Road to Indigo”

 

Breath

 

When the miracle of birth
By grace is given
Perfection in all its imperfections
Perfection in divine right timing
No matter shape, size, ethnicity
No matter the span of time the soul
Journeys here occupying
Its sacred temple,
Its value is immeasurable.

Even if a soul takes a single breath
Even if it surpasses 100 years of breathing
Impossible to discern the totality of purpose
In even one breath.
To engage life
To embrace suffering
To show up and surrender is enough
How we spend each breath,
Fuel for our souls,
Matters

If it holds true that
Butterfly wings flap
Across the globe
And a storm forms
Off the Louisiana gulf coast,
Air Jesus breathed is still circulating through us,
Then everything that has gone before me
Through my ancestral lineage
I inhale
Into the future
And exhale all that I am
 

Unbroken

 

I circle
From there to now
From here to then
The circle that encompasses all my fears
The circle that holds together the fragments of my nightmares

Some I want to gather into this swirling dervish
Others I want to cast aside with centrifugal force
The circle that recoils at the owl’s screech
The circle that stretches time out of mind
All remain unbroken
Sustained in the spiral of this journey

The circle that hears me speak even when I am silent
The circle that calls me in and sends me out
The circle that unfurls into a straight line

That line travels back through time
Gathers ancestors unknown or forgotten
Circles back to live in me

The circle that knows me best
The circle that has no beginning and no end
The circle that welcomes me home

 

Artist’s Statement

Writing is a calling from a deeper place than my undisciplined mind can fathom. I cherish life so I pay attention to it. My writing has spiritual overtones because I believe that spirit is the biggest part of creation. There is more mystery in the unseen and it delights me to explore things that can’t be understood with intellect alone. I know that a part of me loves the theatrics of the spoken word but most of my joy comes from the satisfaction of completion. I start with a seed of thought. When all the components, the lyricism, the wordplay, the images, come together into a completed work, I feel a sense of accomplishment. I am delighted. Now, if others are delighted by what I have written, then that’s just lagniappe.

Bessie Senette

Bessie Senette

Louisiana native Bessie Adams Senette has published her first book, Cutting the Clouds, a Bayou Mystic’s Poems, Musings, and Imaginings. Senette is an author, healer, public speaker, and ordained interfaith minister. She lives in Lafayette, Louisiana with her husband of 35 years. She has two sons, two daughters-in-law, four grand-pups and one cantankerous grand-cat.

 

 

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