I will teach you to know the world
by the way your song bounces from the surfaces of things—
to make light inside your own body
like the angler fish that swim in the deep.
I will teach you to open your eyes wide, then wider
until you see what you thought could not be seen.
And I will teach you to bloom for no other eyes,
to bloom only for the pleasure of blooming.

The Long Marriage

Perhaps I know you best in the dark—
that nightly shrine
where my belly meets your spine,
where the bend of my knees
meets the bend of your knees,
where my warmth meets your warmth,
the night a vase
in which we place
the stems of our bodies,
in which I know myself
through touch.
And nothing must be said
and nothing must be done
except to meet the long familiar flesh,
this honoring of nakedness.

Perhaps I know you best in the dark—
these lightless hours when
we sit in the midst of brokenness
and my hand finds your hand,
and my silence finds your silence,
my loss finds your loss,
and together, somehow,
we find peace.
And nothing can be said.
And nothing can be done
to change the past.
We meet in the these darkened hours,
with nothing but our willingness
to meet these darkened hours,
these hours we would have pushed away,
these hours that bring us closer to each other.

Dark Praise

In each of us thrives an inner world
that does not love the light.
An inner world of womb and breath,
the most essential dark
where blood moves and lungs expand,
where neurons fire and cells divide,
where the heart pulses and muscles build,
where all words form, where all thoughts nest,
the secret world of humanness—
the dark we are, the dark we need,
this secret dark we cannot see.
For all its wounds, its rest,
its miraculous repair,
I praise this living dark
we carry everywhere.

What the Peach Knows

It is night
that keeps the peach
from ripening too fast,
the cool of the dark
that allows the sugar
to develop, to grow—
oh soul, is it any wonder
I have started
to pray for longer nights?

Through sleet, then slush,
through blizzard and ice,
I drove mountain passes
and listened to a love story—
and as my hands gripped
and my shoulders tensed,
my heart cheered for forgiveness.
And as snow fell
and SUVS flipped
and semis slid,
love put its hand
on my hand on the wheel
and though it did not promise me
my own happy ending,
it did crook its finger as if to say
just one more mile, sweetheart,
in the dark current
of the world,
now one more,
now one more,
now one more.

One Midnight Rendezvous

when the silence
waits for me to meet it,
how can I sleep?


Since you died, every shooting star is you.
Not a sign, exactly, more like a reminder
you came into my life brilliant and brief.
More like a reminder to say your name out loud.
As if I don’t already say your name out loud
at least a dozen times a day.

Tonight while walking in the cold
I saw two shooting stars,
and it reminded me of a warmer night
when you and your sister and I
stretched our bodies side by side
on the cool pavement and stared up at the sky
hoping for meteors.

Did we see any? I don’t recall.
I only remember how happy I was then.
A small bit of that happiness
reaches through the loss.
It takes me by the hand,
walks with me through the dark.

One Secret

not the brilliant stars
but the infinite dark
what I wish on

Because you are gone,
I will never again stand
in your doorway and listen
to the sound of your breath
as you sleep.
I can remember the way
it used to calm me—
the slow, even rhythm
that proved you were alive.
I used to laugh at myself.
As if you wouldn’t be alive.
How farfetched it felt,
the idea of your death.
Now, I hear the absence
of your breath everywhere—
everywhere is a doorway
where I find you are not.
And so I listen.

Sometimes it seems as if a silence
is breathing me,
and somehow, you live in that silence.
I don’t know how it works.
I only know that since you are gone,
sometimes listening feels like communion.
Sometimes when I am very quiet,
when there is no sound at all,
I hear you say nothing.
It’s everything.

In the Look

A bunny knows when it’s being watched,
as if attention itself has a weight.
As if it feels my stare like a rush,
like a threatening hand, like a stroke.
But when I graze the bunny
with a brush of a glance
and with half-lidded eyes,
my body faintly angled to the side,
the bunny will bear
the gravity of my notice
and I may watch all I want
as it nibbles and twitches,
hops and rests.
And so it is I learn to meet my past
with a softened gaze, with gauzy eyes,
to meet a memory slant.
The memories let me linger now,
increasingly unskittish.
I do not try to touch them.
They multiply like rabbits.

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