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Toko-Pa Turner

“We ache to have our absence from the circle of belonging noticed. It poisons us from the inside out. Though we try to stay busy, the hidden loneliness underneath is rarely assuaged. Given the first breath of silence, there is an upwelling of alienation so great that it threatens to swallow us whole. No matter how much we accumulate or accomplish, the pang of unbelonging continues to pierce from within.

And so we treat our lives like a project for improvement, attempting to become useful, admired, impervious or savvy. We work at cutting off any unwieldiness that may be preventing us from fitting in. But as this ‘self-development’ encroaches upon our inner wilderness, our dreams and our connection to the holy suffers. As we harness every last resource in service to the unconscious longing to belong, we feel less and less at home.”

—Toko-Pa Turner, Belonging

the place where we once had a picnic
is now underwater

that one thick branch
of the shade tree
is now hovering
over the rippling surface

its trunk submerged—
holding its breath
for us

Last updated: August 8, 2023