A Worry Bead, a Blessing

A Worry Bead, a Blessing
 

From the deep blues
of my mother’s belly
I screamed my way
to birth light. 

Was branded
with a name
passed down
through ten generations
of midnight. 

My mother cradled me
in her arms, 
gently pressed her lips
to my ear. 

She told me
I’d been born
into a world
of bombs & birdsongs, 
diseases & deities, 
poverty & purity.

 Photography by Julie Blackmon

Photography by Julie Blackmon

My mother said
we humans are
the bold electricity of kisses, 
and screams
stuffed with
the latest news headlines. 

We are
correctly tied shoelaces
and busted hinges. 
Healed wounds
and broken mirrors. 

She
wrung ten sad songs
from the ghost in me, 
then handed me over
to the brass-knuckled moon. 
It pummeled me to sleep
with a thug’s lullaby. 

In dreamland, 
I didn’t count fleeting sheep,
just heavy shadows.

As I grew, 
optimism became a consequence
of my wishbone ribcage. 

Some days, 
those ribs have broken
to the side of good fortune. 
Other times, 
I’ve been left wailing
my birth-given blues.

Nightly, 
I shed my weighty shadow
beneath a hanging tree. 
Nightly, 
I count the stars
in the night sky. 

Each one: a worry bead.
Each one: a blessing.

 Photography by Elena Helfrecht

Photography by Elena Helfrecht


A Worry Bead, a Blessing

By

Rich Ferguson


Cover Photography by Amy Friend