I was once
a mountain
—the sand


red hands on the cave wall—
asking my own palms
what mark will you make?


lying on the earth
shivering beneath the stars—
all night knowing where I am

stomping bull of doubt—
a blue butterfly
lands on its nose


distant coyote—
the heart doesn’t howl
alone tonight


delighted by pot shards—
could I find my own brokenness
so precious?


the seaweed, the pink hibiscus
inviting the self
to fall in love with both


when all the hearts wants
is a hole in one—
bogey after bogey


slipping into the ocean of love—
how did I ever believe
it was a puddle


after the conversation
there is only
after the conversation


holding my father’s hand—
a low sun lighting
the whole ocean


rumors of big sharks
swim circles around
my mother and I in the channel


all this talk of sharing
our most vulnerable parts—
sunburn on my belly


on the airplane home—
hearing in the whir of ventilation
the waves of the ocean

Certainty is a frigatebird,
able to soar on the wind for weeks,
its nest a distant thing.
Is it wrong to say I admire it,
sleek and raven feathered,
how it dives from the sky
with exquisite precision,
how it steals what it wants
with no regard for what’s fair.
I have wanted to be that certain,
wanted to take, wanted to believe
my hunger is all that matters.
Is it wrong to notice these thoughts,
to give voice to their midnight wings?
I say I trust what I don’t know.
Meanwhile, I flirt with certainty.
It whispers to me,
I’m the other truest thing.

Butterfly Effect

At first I hear only the fan.
The hum of the fridge.
The whine of a faraway motor.
I wait. I listen a long time
until I hear the slightest silence
from thirty years ago
when that butterfly wing in China
didn’t flap and so the weather didn’t change
and so until this moment,
the woman today didn’t know
that she was missing so much laughter
thirty years ago.


I wear my wonder
like old running shoes—
not elegant,
not sophisticated,
surprisingly inappropriate
in certain rooms. 
I notice how others 
sometimes wrinkle their noses
at a blatant sporting of wonder, 
thinking, perhaps, I must be oblivious
to the dress code:
stilettos of apathy,
high heels of indifference,
boots of cool reserve. 
But dang, this wonder
gets me where I need to go
every inch, 
every mile, even 
across the room.
When everywhere I step
is broken glass,
wearing this wonder
is the only reason
I can move at all.

What a joy it was to explore poetry and spirituality with Raghu Markus on the Mindrolling podcast … for an hour we spoke of trust and falling apart and process. We read poems and talk about embodiment and showing up and finding joy in a devastated world. Available as audio and as video.

Hi friends,

it’s our spring break so I will be mostly offline these next two weeks and not sending out the daily poems. On April 19, you’ll get a big bouquet of two weeks’ worth of daily poems all at once and then we’ll return to the regular daily sending practice. 

In the meantime, wishing you all joy,

One Dedication

hope gets a flat tire—
the stubborn heart
starts walking

The Tide is High

lyrics from "The Tide Is High" by John Holt, 1967
Something about the unsinkable reggae beat,
and in just three notes, I’m again my young self,
dancing alone in my bedroom,
singing as if I am one with the song,
as if it were written just for me,
I’m not the kind of girl
who gives up just like that, oh no, oh!
And singing it now on a Sunday afternoon,
I’m caught in a surprise riptide of joy
and start to lilt around the room,
though just moments ago I was weeping,
buried beneath the salt of worry,
but here I am, dancing alone,
hips rocking, my shoulders a rolling sea,
my voice surfing above the bright swell of trumpets.
The tide is high but I’m holding on.
Sometimes a song is a lifeline,
not because it pulls me out of the water,
but because it tosses me deeper in,
and I feel I’m no longer trapping myself
in a life the size of a teacup—
no, in this moment I am oceanic,
an Atlantic of joy, a Pacific of wonder
vast enough to hold everything,
and the tide is high
and all that salt only makes me more buoyant
as I play in the generous waves.

Made to Love

That love is complicated
is no surprise—
consider the human heart
pumps blood to almost
seventy-five trillion cells,
and if we were to stretch
out our blood vessel system,
it would extend over
sixty thousand miles.
Of course, things
get tangled and messy.
And perhaps, love is also
not so complicated.
Perhaps it’s as easy
as waking up in the night
and feeling the darkness hold us.
As effortless as sipping
sweet licorice tea
and letting it warm the body.
As inclusive as the lily’s white perfume
that touches the whole room.
Yes, perhaps loving is as instinctive
as the human heart that beats
over a hundred thousand times a day—
not because we ask it to,
not because we try,
but because that’s what
it was made to do.

One Invitation

the new map
life gave me—
a blank page

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