No Matter Who You Are

you and I—
two threads joined in one
miraculous cloth

Before We Say a Word

I like my body in the mornings
when the light has not yet stolen the room,
and when you, in darkness, turn your length
toward my length and bend your body
to match the curve of my spine.

I like the warmth our bodies find,
I like your legs bowed into mine,
your feet like a tangle of roots about my feet.

I like my neck when it’s touched by your breath,
and I like my waist when your hand rests there.
And my belly, I like how soft it is, like sweet dough rising.

So tender, this drowsy, dreamy, yielding state
when we are more flesh than name, more limb than thought,
more breath than what we know.

And the darkness holds us quietly,
your body, my body, oh how we linger,
indulgent, our boundaries blurred,
while all around us, even inside us,
the world with its edges and certainties
begins to dawn.

Sometimes I Can Say

You are my blizzard, my tempest, my hail,
you my cloudless sky.
I learn to say yes to your everywhere
and yes to your nowhere.
Yes to your hawk, your sparrow.
Yes to your desert, your orchards of plums
ripe and fat with sweetness.
Yes to your knives and yes to your blossoms.
Yes to your silence, yes to your growl.
Yes to the part of me that says no.
Yes to the fear of yes.
Yes to your flash flood, yes to your drought.
Yes to the angry red ache and yes to infinite tenderness.
Yes to the walls and the walls falling down.
Yes to the prison, the skeleton key.
Yes to you, yes, I say yes, yes again,
yes to your killing frost,
yes to your warm morning after.

Wild Rose Learns to Paint

She starts with marigold.
She pours the paint into a cup and selects the fattest brush.
The paint drips all over the floor as she moves toward the canvas.
She doesn’t care about the mess.
She drags huge pulls of marigold onto the blank, stroke after stroke after stroke.
There is no pattern, no purpose, no why.
More paint, she says to no one, more paint!
And she opens the ochre, the navy, the pomegranate, the plum.
She forgets about cups and pours the paint
directly into her hands. Then it’s hurl of paint, smash of paint,
fist and smear and splat of paint. Long slow pinky fingered tease of paint.
Puddles of paint. Great rainbowed pools.
She rolls in the paint and then rolls her body against the walls, the doors,
every inch of the virgin floor.
Every part of her is color now, and there is nothing
she’s not ready to touch.

Little Lie

Today it’s blessing fine enough I did
not fall and break my favorite crystal vase,
I did not choke, nor lose my daughter’s place
in her new chapter book. I didn’t trip
on fallen logs while running, did not flip
my car. I didn’t die, did not replace
my toothpaste with the Preparation H,
I didn’t drop a baby, didn’t slip.

And as for that sweet thing you didn’t say
that I had wished you might have said, it’s so
okay, that detail seems extremely small
amidst these other blessings of the day,
it’s no big deal you didn’t say it—no
big deal. I barely noticed it at all.

*If this looks familiar, it is … it’s an older poem I turned into a sonnet …

When I Was Five

Whitish and filmy, their eyes clouded over,
the dead bluegills and croppies would float
to the top of the lake and catch in the seaweed.
I’d splash with my hands at the water’s surface
and make waves to push their rotting bodies
toward the neighbor’s pier.
And then my brother and I would play.
Death, then, was just something to push away,
certainly nothing that had anything to do with us.

An apology is the superglue of life. It can repair just about anything.
—Lynn Johnston

I wanted her to apologize,
told myself I needed it.
She gave me a blank page.
A silent room.
A heart wildly aware
of its own beating.
If she had any inkling
how rich these gifts have been,
how much more abundant and spacious my life
has become,
I think
she would have


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