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This Season


 
 
It is true, every day
brings a sadness—
sometimes like a blizzard,
sometimes like sleet,
sometimes like a clear morning
of fifteen below,
but I do not wish any of it away.
 
On the coldest mornings here,
the birds that choose to stay
fluff up their feathers
to trap in the chill air,
warming it with their own bodies
until it becomes their insulation.
 
This is, perhaps, how it is with grief—
by holding it close,
it transforms from something
that would hurt me
to something I infuse
with my own being,
thus becoming something
that allows me to survive.
 
It would be wrong
to say I like it. But I hear
how, with every day,
it is teaching me
a new way to sing.

Practical Application




Knowing now how one moment
rewrites every moment after it;
how in an instant, the heart can trip
over its own beat and need to be retaught
how to love; how irreversible takes
only a second to say and yet
contains all eternity; how quickly our breath
can be claimed by the tides of forever,

for this I buy deep pink tulips for the table.
For this I make Dutch apple pie.
For this I walk through the canyon
in moonlight. I remind myself no guarantees.
For this, I pull you in and hold you. For this,
I stand still in the spruce trees and breathe.




Again, the heart
is a too-tender thing—
its wild ache spreads
through the tinder
of the chest
until all is ravaged
and all is singed
and red is too red
and raw is too raw
and each feral beat is
a bell clanging run,
but there’s nowhere
to run to,
and love is too
goddamn alive
and each pulse
spills more
kerosene


it is a long time
before I feel
the stars
reach down
to hold me.

Temple




O body, cracked bell
that still sings when struck,
O leaky cup,
O broken stem,
I love you, body,
your crooked path,
your crumbling walls,
your faulty math.
I love the way
you stopped believing
you could ever
hold it all,
how you began
to let yourself
become the one
that’s being held.
I love the graffiti
on your inner halls—
scrawled names of all
who shaped you.
O body, my wreck,
my holey glove,
my street worn sole,
my crumpled page,
forgive me for years
of trying to fix you,
for believing the fable
of whole,
you, my perfect
splattered heart,
my stuttered hymn,
my sacred
begging bowl.

Off the Clock




I want to wake with no sense of what a minute is—
no watch on my hand, no dial on the wall,
no method to measure this life into units of should.
I want to lean into the spell of sunlight like orchids on the sill.
I want to be a question only the moment can answer,
want bergamot to tell me it’s time for tea.
And if there is a pressing yes, then let it find me.
Let me feel into the field of my upper back—
how spacious it becomes when I act with integrity.
Let me be rhythm of shadow and birdsong
let me be rising wind. Let me be time itself,
not the arrow of time, but the infinite sea
and the sand that slips and the silence that swells
in the absence of tick tick tick. I want to wake
to no hands but yours and mine. To be born into the day.
No was. No will. No once. No when.
No deadline. No finish line. No wrong date. No too late.
No too late. Not even a little too late. It would never be too late.

The Opening

Finn dancing, April 2021




Like this lily on the table
giving its everything to the world,
that’s the way I see your life.
For seventeen years, I watched you
open and open and open—
watched you hurl your body
off cliffs on skis. Watched you leap
on the stage more gazelle
than boy. Heard you weep
when your friends broke your heart.
Full on, my love, that’s how you lived,
the way so few others dare.
I saw you fail and try and fail and try
and fail and try again—every morning,
your petals outspread as you learned
how to be in this world, this world
that does its best to close us down.
You were the perfume of the wide open lily—
in every room you entered,
even when you were quiet,
everyone knew you were there.
Your presence. Your presence.
I honor the way you lived,
splaying wide, then wider,
your heart on full display until
you could no longer live this way.
I want to give myself
to this opening, though it hurts,
though I am left with the absence
of your bloom. I want to honor
the way you charged every room
of my heart with the beauty,
the pain of your being.  
I want to open
to the every memory of you—
to the memories where you shine,
to the memories where you
say goodbye to this world,
this world that asks for everything—
though the opening makes me weep,
though the opening asks me,
oh please, god, oh please, no,
not this,
the opening asks me for everything.

What’s in a Broken Cup?




Not everything broken
need be fixed.
Even the loveliest cup,
the one that seemed perfection,
the one that fit
just right in the hand
and held the favorite wine,
even that cup is only a cup,
and, being fashioned
out of breakable clay,
it was, we could say,
made to be broken.
The fact it was fragile
was always a part of its value.
In shattered fragments,
the cup is no less
treasured—perhaps
even more treasured now
that its wholeness
isn’t taken for granted.
There are some who
would throw the pieces away.
There are some who
would meet them with
glue or even with gold
in an effort to repair.
But there are some
who will cherish what is broken,
hold it even more tenderly now,
trusting its use—
though different—
is no less valuable.
Trusting a fragment
is sometimes more than enough.
Trusting in every end
is a beginning,
and we might now
sip our wine
straight from the source.





For two hours, I am
more lung than thought,
more legs than loss,
more heart beat
than heart ache,
and so holy alive
as I become rhythm
of push and glide,
push and glide,
pole and swing,
I transform into
a flying thing—
each shift from ski
to sliding ski
a calling on balance
that comes from
the core.
By the time
I ski back to the car,
it’s not that I have forgotten
my loss, it’s just
that every cell in me
now remembers
the dance between
falling and recovery,
falling and recovery—
how it happens
again and again—
how this is the way
we recalibrate
we fall, we recover,
we move forward.

In Your Honor




Before I rise, I realize
the cat has curled herself
into my side and my hand
floats to her slender spine.
So soft, she is, and I
remember how much
you loved everything soft—
blankets and stuffies,
pillows and clothes.
Remember how you begged me
for that plush purple owl?
And I remember how soft
your hair was, how soft
your skin, how soft
your heart even after
you learned to harden it.
I think of how
you come to me now
in feathers, in dreams,
in whispers. Oh world,
I want to beg, help me
stay soft. Like a fist
that, once stiffened,
remembers it can open.
Like a bird on a winter
morning, near frozen,
remembering not only
that it has wings, but
that it can fly.
Like your hands,
the day you were born.
Like your drowsy voice when,
before sleep, you’d murmur,
Love you, mama.
Sweet dreams.

Apulosis




They’re almost invisible now,
these scars on my hands—
cuts from cat claws
and thorn bushes,
barbed wire fences.
I have long since forgotten
their stories.  
It’s what the body does—
forms new fibers
to mend damage.
But what of when
the wound has touched
every part of the body,
every part of the heart,
every part of story
of who you are?
How long will
there be healing
before there’s a scar?
Will it be raised?
Or sunken? Or flat?
I run a fingertip
along the thin pale lines
on the back of my right hand.
These scars, I see
are repairs made by time
and biology.
But some scars,
I believe,
are beyond the body.
Some scars
can only be knit
by miracle.

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