Owning Mardi Gras

I am not a saint.

And yet I go marching, joining the ranks of those

skipping and swaying amidst feathers, beads and glistening limbs

down streets, slick with dreams, tattered and torn.

I am not a saint.

And yet, each year, wearing a mask

that can at least be recognized as one,

I take to the streets

and I dance.

Giddy, with the beat of drums,

of blood flowing in my veins,

amazed, that I am actually still here,

I fling into the sky rage, grief, and helplessness

I howl.

And hurl myself into that pulsing sea of humanity.

For there, only there, can I

forgive myself; find myself; know that

I am not alone.

And that saints are few.

And that my sights need to be

set a little lower.  I am not a saint, but I am here.

And I will march – I will dance.

I will howl, and hurl to the heavens anything

that keeps me from being

fully alive

(Stefanie Etzbach-Dale, 2011)

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