The Quiet Castle
When he’s tired
My dog Tito steps into his crate, draped in green and gold fabric
To look less like a cage, or a prison.
He stretches, turns around in a perfect circle,
Sighing in comfort
A sigh of a protected soul,
Dozing off on a velvety black cushion that he himself chose
When he sat on it at the pet store.
A year ago, Tito lived in a shelter in Spain,
And slept in a cage with no velvet cushion and no green and gold canopy,
Nothing to dim the incessant barking.
I thought Tito would see a crate as a prison
He deserves freedom
We run on mountain trails, he drinks from alpine streams
He climbs into his crate, turns around on his velvety cushion and sighs
That’s freedom, in his quiet castle.
Why do I feel imprisoned, when all I need is to turn to face
East, South, West and North
Breathe in deep, exhale and let my body relax.
Put down the phone, stop doing, and be
Be with the anxious thoughts, the grief, the hopelessness,
Drape them in green and gold
Or a gust of salty ocean air
Stretch out on a velvet cushion
Or a bed of autumn leaves.
Take off your shoes and feel the earth, dig in your toes
Chant sacred sounds
In your quiet castle
The door is open.
The door of Tito’s crate is open
Except sometimes when it’s safer to close it
Because when he’s alone he wanders around
Panics and destroys things, lost with too much space.
I wander around sometimes too
Panic and destroy things
Gnawing on my Instagram feed
Jumping up and down in my in-box,
Doomsday scrolling and careless binge-watching.
In those moments, I tell myself to remember this:
Dear girl, close the door of your quiet castle
Lock yourself safely inside,
Turn in a sun-wise direction
Breathe in, breathe out
And gaze at the green and gold canopy above.