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Unfolding

In a vision, I saw the self
as white flower—
a many-petalled ranunculus—
a flower that opened and opened
and infinitely opened, reaching
beyond borders, beyond atmosphere,
beyond our beautiful spiral of galaxy,
its petals unfolding and unfolding,
a timeless, unending unfolding.
It comforts me to know
there’s no edge to the universe,
no way to fall off, no way
to accidentally go beyond.
There was a moment when
the green stem snapped and I worried
the blossom had become too big.
Then I felt it, how completely
the great bloom was held by the world,
and in that moment, I trusted that holding.
The flower kept growing.
Now, back in my body,
I’m still opening into that trust.

The Bouquet


for Summer, Autumn, Lulu and Katie
 
 
From the garden, the girls brought
a small bouquet of late summer’s
loveliest flowers: snapdragons,
nasturtiums, lavender, salvia,
and the fernlike leaves of marigold.
And there in the center, like a guest
who did not care what clothes
she was given to wear to the ball,
was the white globe of dandelion
gone to seed, its white filigree
quite unlike all the other petals.
How could I not notice this orb
of wishes still waiting to be wished?
How I longed to spend all the wishes
on these girls who had seen
this fragile sphere as a gift.
May they be happy.
May they be sure they are loved.
May they know their own beauty
beyond any mirror.
May they flourish in all soils.
May they believe their own hearts.
May they trust their own voices.
May they find friends wherever they travel.
May they feel vital in any bouquet.
May they know love. Again and again.
Live into the fullness of each ordinary moment.
And wherever they grow, may they know
for certain the earth itself will carry them.
 
 

Relative Key


 
 
I paid extra for the bell
with a beautiful sound,
knowing we would ring it
one hundred and eight times
on the anniversary of your death.
I wanted it to be beautiful.
I wanted to play a sound
that would reach
to wherever you are
and offer you peace.
There are bells that ring
danger or failure or shame,
bells that clang with dissonance,
bells that toll only melancholy.
I have heard those bells.
But for you, my boy,
the bell we rang for you
pealed with a brilliant, shining ring,
a rousing chiming,
a surprising harmony
that opened the evening
with new light,
a ringing that rhymed
with new colors I’ve found in my heart—
the shimmering blue of enduring hope,
the glimmering gold of companioning.
I could still hear the blue
and the resonant gold
long after the bell stopped ringing.
 

Exactly a year ago I posted a message instead of a poem, explaining I needed a time away. Two weeks later I explained why. It was almost two months later I posted my son Finn’s obituary. In the last year, I have been so humbled by the love and support and kindness of people. So many of you reached out to me in some way, and whether it was with a letter, an email, a gift, a call, a prayer, your thoughts, a song, or your energetic presence, I am grateful. It has mattered. You, with your love and goodness, you have not only buoyed me, you have changed me. I don’t know how anyone would ever survive such a loss without such an outpouring. I thank you, every one of you, I thank you, I thank you. I am sobbing now thinking of it–all the love. This poem tries to touch it, but, well, it’s just the surface. I am swirling gratefulness around all of you. I honor your losses that have made you who you are, that have made you so tender and generous toward others.
With abiding awe, 
Rosemerry



Though I Knew Love Before



Not until my world dissolved
in an instant did I begin to understand
the communion of hearts.
Not until I could not put one minute
in front of the next did I begin
to understand infinite devotion.
Not until I lost my own flesh did I begin
to understand the muscle of spirit.
I will never love the loss, never,
but I love the life that rushes in after.
I love the intimacy
of those who have lost—
how we find each other and offer
our open embrace, our unwalled affection,
our wildest wishes for peace.
Not until I was consumed
by the great wave of love
did I know not to fear
the great wave of love.
Only then did I learn the beauty
of ceding the self to something much greater.
Only then did I learn how love
not only carries us,
it transforms who we are forever.

The One Who Thrives


for my daughter, a year later


She has learned to bloom
like the tuberose,
opening in the light
but becoming more potent
in the dark.
Sweet scent of honey.
Tenacious scent of jasmine.
The hard won scent
of hope.
Scent of the one
who has learned to thrive
when thriving
doesn’t feel possible.
Scent of resilience.
Scent of I can.
Scent of the one
who finds grace
on the inside.
Scent of elusive beauty.
Scent of the one
who meets the soils
made of sorrow,
who brings to the world
a gift as astonishing
as a night-blooming flower,
a gift as honest
as the moon.

The Bidding


 
Again, I am ruled by it,
this invitation to be wildly open
the way a day is open,
this invitation to be porous
the way birdsong is porous,
this invitation to feel it all
the way skin feels it all when
I slip into a blue alpine lake.
Again this urge to fall all the way
into the mystery and refuse
any rope thrown in an attempt
to rescue me. Morning comes
with the scent of autumn,
charged with ripeness and rot
and the kinship of everything.
What an honor to be mortal,
to know the value of a day,
to know how vulnerable we are
and then give ourselves away.
 

In Crepuscular Light

These warm summer evenings
I take in the nighthawks
looping above the field.
I take in their fast and agile flight,
take in their long and pointed wings.
Come winter, I will be grateful
to have stored such things.
When the nighthawks are gone
and the world is dim,
I will want to remember thema—
their aerialist displays, the way
they make of the dusk a playground,
the way the whole night
seems to hang on an angling wing—
Oh summer is such a generous thing.
Even the dark is charged with the thrill
of living. Even this heart, wounded
and bruised, can’t help but open
to the wheeling of nighthawks,
how they arc and sweep
as the sun disappears
and then continue their swooping
long after the light is gone.

Dizzying

After midnight I stand
on the leading side of the earth
and watch as comet debris
speeds through the atmosphere.
Oh, the universe is big, and tonight,
I’m in love with being small,
my tiny heart flung wide to the mystery.
I think of the meteors flaring across the sky,
how they’re made from dust
the size of a grain of sand.
It takes so little to make something radiant,
something worth pointing at,
something worth waking for,
something vivid and bright.
something fleeting and beautiful as life.

At Last




After a week, at last the peaches
on the counter smell like peaches,
their sweet summer scent reaching
across the room to where I sit
trying to balance numbers.
The scent is like a flirty lover
who won’t take no for answer,
who trails fingertips down my cheek
and neck and lightly tugs at my collar,
then tilts my head back
to whisper into my ear,
Isn’t there something you’d rather
be doing, my dear?
And damn if I’m not distracted
and hungry and all I want
is to sink my teeth into peach
and that’s what I do.
So much of life feels like letting go,
but tonight life says,
Pick me up, sweetheart. Take me in.
And the gold sticky juice
runs all over those numbers.
I lick my fingers clean.



She carries a vase
of delphiniums and daisies
and I carry a tune
and we toss them all
like wishes
into the river.
Some wishes
are more beautiful
for knowing they will never
come true.
When we are done
we hold hands in the twilight
and watch the last
of the flowers float
in the shimmering eddies.
This is the moment
I would not have known
to have wished for.
I lean into this moment.

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