June 23, 2016, written for Mediums at Constellation 

when you are seeking protection
from supernatural threats
from demons or from curses
or from ill-intentioned spirits

in many different traditions
you will be guided to make a line of salt

barring the entrance to your home
marking out a protective circle around yourself
resting in a little bowl at your child’s bedside

think now of all the meals you share
the french fry licks of fingers
of watching your mother grate hard cheese
over hot spaghetti

of the eggs your lover cooked you
that were overdone
but seasoned well with sentiment

the rim of your margarita

imagine that every time you sit down to a table
or a park bench or a sidewalk curb
with someone to eat
it adds a grain to the circle of salt
you’ve drawn around yourself
and those you love

making you less vulnerable to the barbs
thrown out at you by the world
and yet somehow also more open to each other
more tender

think now of every tear
every mourning pang
every heartbreak knife twist
every clutch of your hands toward your face
as if to hold back a flood of incomprehensible speech
all transliterated strange by sorrow

made by your body
sliding out of you and down your skin
drawing out lines and circles

think now of every dance floor sweat soak
every bike ride uphill
eyes squinting in the sun
every friend’s cheap furniture
you carried to a third-floor walkup out of love

every kickball game that was more about other bases
but you still kicked hard, ran hard
every time you fucked 
even though it was chicago in the summer
all that sweat

imagine that we all, here
are drawing circles for each other with our bodies
making glitter out of salt
by adding to its crystals all our melted lipsticks
all our skinned knees
dyes seeping from all our strongest looks

the blue of the lake
the brown of the whiskey
the black of our ink
all the throbbing colors of our love
glitter out of salt

I want you to feel safe
I want you to feel safe

may our circles protect us
let us keep each other as best we can