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Yes, That’s When

 

 

I like my body when I’m in the woods

and I forget my body. I forget that arms,

that legs, that nose. I forget that waist,

that nerve, that skin. And I aspen. I mountain.

I river. I stone. I leaf. I path. I flower.

I like when I evergreen, current and berry.

I like when I mushroom, avalanche, cliff.

And everything is yes then, and everything

new: wild iris, duff, waterfall, dew.

What We Can Do

 

 

 

Because I can’t make things better,

I offer you tea. I am grateful when you accept.

The night holds us both

as we sit in the kitchen,

your voice a small boat

in an ocean of ache.

 

Because I can’t fix the problems,

I cover you with a blanket

when I see you are shivering,

though I know your shudders

have little to do with cold.

Still, it feels good when you pull

the white throw around you,

as if for the moment you’re protected.

 

I think of the Queen of Sheba,

how she learned to be grateful

for falling. How, in the dark,

she found her own light within,

then rose up and shared

this pearl with the world.

 

Because you are hurting,

I listen to you, would listen

all night, would listen all week.

I offer my whole attention.

And as you find in yourself

the light that is there,

I marvel as you marvel

at your own wisdom, your

own strength.

I listen. I nod.

I pour you tea.

 

 

 

 

 

I listen for the hidden wholeness, wisdom, and grace.

            —Wayne Muller

 

 

I’ve forgotten how to listen

for the hidden wholeness—

trained by the ring of the phone

and the morning alarm and

the unheard bells of the day

that say “go, go, go.”

I’ve forgotten how to be still.

To empty. To unexpect.

 

Today, though it is May,

the green world is covered

by snow. It’s one way the world

learns to unknow itself.

 

My teacher reminds me

how the deepest healing

can only take place in the quiet,

the still, the great awake.

 

I know she is right, but

it is the kind of knowing

that is too certain of itself.

 

As I walk, I open my hands

to let the snow land there.

I watch the flakes melt.

For a moment, I almost think

I can hear them. For a moment,

I forget who is doing the listening.

 

 

 

Redefinition

 

 

 

Darling, they’ve redefined the kilogram.

Once it was a thing. A real thing:

a platinum-iridium cylinder

weighing 2.2 pounds. A thing they kept

in France in a high-security vault. A thing

they could compare to other such weights

kept in vaults all around the world.

As if to lock a thing up is to keep it

from changing. Forever.

 

Now we know better.

Every thing changes. It’s the nature

of things. Even prototypes lose atoms,

no matter how sterile the room

in which they’re kept.

The loss may be only the weight

of a single eyelash that no longer

bats itself at time.

Over time, it matters.

 

Now, understanding the volatile nature of things,

they’ve made the kilogram an idea—

a simple truth—by tying its definition

to Planck’s constant. How the world loves

a constant.

 

Darling, know that I am a thing.

I have wanted to be constant,

unwavering, true, but I lose things.

I gain things. I change innumerable

times a day. I am never the same woman

as I was yesterday. Each time we speak,

I swell, I leak. I will always love you

not the same. There is more at work than gravity.

It’s the way the heart is made.

 

I want to make you promises.

Like constancy. Like forever.

I promise that I’ll change.

Like the old kilogram. Like weather.

 

https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/13/world/kilo-measurement-scli-intl/index.html

Translation

 

 

Once I would say “table,” and mean

“table.” Once, I would say

“broccoli” and mean “broccoli.”

I would say “stone” and mean

“stone.” I really did believe

that things were separate.

And nameable. Now,

every word that comes

out of my mouth, no matter

how many syllables, no matter

the tone of voice, no matter

my intention, I’ve come to understand

that every word

is really just a translation

for thank you,

thank you for this moment.

And every silence between the words,

regardless how brief,

is really just the sound

of one hand in gratitude clapping.

 

 

One Devotion

 

 

finding in me

the place where honey

is stored

almost empty

still offering it to you

Despite the News

 

 

 

Again the rain,

and I wander

the tender green grass

of the field.

The hands pull weeds

because the hands

want something to do.

And the mind looks

for morels, because the mind

wants something to do.

And the feet wander,

because they are born

nomads. And the heart

opens. Not because

it wants to, but

because there is something

in the scent of rain

that suggests

so much is possible,

even, against all odds,

beauty. Even, though

it seems impossible,

another day.

What do a poet and a science writer have in common? A podcast on creative process! And in this episode of Emerging Form, Christie Aschwanden and I discuss collaborations–what makes them work, how they go sour, and what to do then! We also discuss whether collaborations need leaders, wemerging formhy listening is an essential skill for working with other creatives, Chinese food, the Jabberwocky, and how spontaneity can enhance a creative collaboration. And then we’ll wrap up our conversation by talking with musician/songwriter/video producer Christine Laskowski who will play our game of two questions. We’ll ask her 1) What makes a good collaboration? And 2) How do you deal with conflicts when they arise in a collaboration? You can weigh in on these questions yourself, either on our website or on our Facebook page. You can find Emerging Form wherever you find podcasts, or on our webpage here.

 

One New Step

 

 

weeping beside

the pussy willows—

all those tears

over saying goodbye,

I wouldn’t uncry

a single one

One Scratched Up

 

 

 

goldfinch stealing

into the thorn bush—

oh heart, bless you

for being willing, please

don’t follow him in

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