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During our writing retreat last November, Carol Henderson read the poem “Rummage Sale” by Jennifer Maier.  Carol had us pick a piece of paper from a basket that contained a line from the poem and asked us to write about the line we selected.

This is the line I selected:  ” ….and you, small ship in a bottle, for the diminutive size of your ocean.”


I had to chuckle when I heard Carol Henderson read this line aloud to our writing group. I was always amazed as a kid about how that ship really got in the bottle. I thought up all sorts of possibilities, including blowing the glass around it, gluing two pieces of glass around it matching the seams, etc.

It wasn’t until years later when I viewed a demonstration on TV that it all came together in my head. The ship was passed through the neck of a bottle, then tiny threads were pulled lifting the sails to their full and upright position, locking them into place. The ship was then in its full majesty, observed and awed from all angles.

I think grief has a way of making one feel like the process of being pushed into places that feel tight and conforming. The body almost collapsed and held together by strings in its fragile state.

Only with a keen eye and support of not only our own being, but especially those around us, are our strings tugged ever so gently. And only as the body starts to lift itself from its folded down shape, slowly and surely to its full and upright position, sails blowing in the wind, are we ready to meet the brand new day.

Monica Sleap