Many years ago someone gave me a small pouch
of fossilized shark teeth.
And for years they sat in a crystal bowl
without apparent purpose.

Until they found their way inside.

Inside a rattle that is also a drum.

Many years ago I was given a bed frame
that was made by my great great Grandfather
in Russell County, Virginia.
My Grandmother was born in that bed in 1896.

I could find no ordinary use for the frame
but the turned hardwood spindles became
a way to hold a voice.

And so this drum rattle
came to have the voice of a shark.
This ancient creature with relatives
more than 500 million years old.

I understand that a two headed drum
must have a hole
through which spirit can pass,

and this hole was already in the skin.
So small that I did not see it
until the drum head was dry.

I think this is the way of the shark.
Tireless, relentless, enduring.
There is no giving up
until the possibility becomes the experience.

I know this is the way of art.
To move beyond the shallows,
and find family in deep water.

 

You can hear this drum rattle being played
by clicking on this link.