A Shade of the Truth





How soon the flowers wilt.

Wasn’t it just yesterday

you planted them, just an hour ago

there were mounds of bloom

shining in the rain?

You want to believe there’s a flower

that never stops opening,

want to believe that flower

is you.




Just today, in the garden,

I found dozens of dark blue

McHugh Blue potatoes,

hard and small, their

delicious fists hiding

in the cool soil.

How wonderful the world is

if you just dig a little.

All those things you planted,

they show up, even though

everything around them

looks dead.

Don’t be in a hurry,

the woman said,

and I realized

I was wishing away

these difficult days.

Imagine how patient

the ground.


Hymn to What’s Bare




Last night’s wind scoured

the trees and stripped

their boughs—

it is easy in today’s calm

to wish my soul had been out

in the woods last night.

Emptiness reveals more

than all the gold, all design.

Annual Check Up




The doctor checks their pulses,

their ears, their throats,

knee reflexes and weight

and dubs them healthy,

gives them high fives

without mentioning

(did he not notice?)

that they have wings.

One Almost 5’10




the tree I planted

now taller than I—

my empty hand

still remembering

the weight of the acorn

Where We Are Headed




I resist any kind of discourse that anchors itself in identity and proceeds from there. As I said before, I want to get behind categorical distinctions and find and work with what human beings share and how, potentially, people can coexist in a world that is extraordinarily diverse.

            —Michael D. Jackson, “The Politics of Storytelling” in the Harvard Divinity School News



At first we just say flower. How

thrilling it is to name. Then it’s

aster. Begonia. Chrysanthemum.


We spend our childhood learning

to separate one thing from another.

Daffodil. Edelweiss. Fern. We learn


which have five petals, which have six.

We say, “This is a gladiolus, this hyacinth.”

And we fracture the world into separate


identities. Iris. Jasmine. Lavender.

Divorcing the world into singular bits.

And then, when we know how to tell


one thing from another, perhaps

at last we feel the tug to see not

what makes things different, but


what makes things the same. Perhaps

we feel the pleasure that comes

when we start to blur the lines—


and once again everything

is flower, and by everything,

I mean everything.




One Lament




In the ragged purr of the cat

in my lap I hear all the sun

she has yet to curl into,

all the mice she has yet

to chase, all the days

we don’t have left.

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