And here is the miracle—
to find in grief not only sorrow
but a ravenous gratefulness for life,
to find in loss not only emptiness
but an unimaginable abundance.
It doesn’t happen in a day,
no, not even in a year,
but who said miracles
need be instantaneous.

Today I skied through a veil of trees
and forgot for a moment
anything but trees, but skis, but lungs.
I want to tell you in that moment,
there was no one to remember,
there was no one to look ahead,
there was no one except the human
who knew to place the next ski in front
of the other, knew to trust
the ragged saw of her breath,
knew that life is only as beautiful
as death.

A Poetry Video! I love this project–poets writing about land conservation. I was one of many poets who contributed to a beautiful book, Writing the Land: Currents, giving voice to 22 lands from across the country. I wrote for the Colorado Land Trust about the Potter Ranch located between Ridgway and Ouray in southwest Colorado. Thanks to Lis McLoughlin for her amazing poet-wrangling skills and to Elizabeth MacLeod Burton-Crow for her skills putting together this video of me reading on the land. If you, too, feel strongly about exploring our relationship with the land we live on and land conservation, check out the book and the project.

At the Potter Ranch

with thanks to Mike Potter, Ridgway, Colorado

On a day when the human world feels like a fist—
when it clenches and squeezes,
fierce and relentless—
I leave the four walls and sit
on an old fallen cottonwood tree,
long and silver and smooth.
There, in the center of a wide river valley,
I sit. And sit. And sit.
And the tall green grasses
and the graceful white yarrow don’t refuse me.
And the murmur of waves
and the musk-yellow scent of sweet clover
replace any thoughts, save being here.
The ring of red mesas
with their vast crowns of spruce
form a vase great enough to hold it all—
and I am gathered into spaciousness
along with dark green sedges and white butterflies,
with the tantrums of brambles
and the tangled flight patterns
of thousands on thousands of dark tiny flies.
A flock of birds rise all at once from the river
and my heart and my eyes rise, too.
A long time passes before I am quiet enough
to hear the chorus in the willows,
the bright clicking of insect wings,
the silence that weaves through everything.
Then the flickers come close
and the dragonflies draw nearer in.
And I current. I cloud. I leaf. I wing.
I leave unwalled, un-selved.
The spaciousness comes with me.

It’s science, of course,
how the sugars in beets
will caramelize when heated,
a process that includes conversion,
condensation, dehydration,
collisions, and the formation
of thousands of volatile compounds.
And though it’s not simple,
and though this process of sweetening
is not fully understood,
sweetening happens. Every time.
Is it wrong this gives me hope
for other hard and bitter things?
Just asking the question,
already I feel myself begin to soften.

Your perspective matters. How you see the world—the way you meet even the smallest moment—affects everyone and everything in the world around you.

The stories you tell yourself and others create the big conversation—what are we doing here? What does it mean to be alive? 

But practically speaking, how do we change our perspective? How might our stories limit us? How do we re-see what we’ve seen again and again? The poets have something to teach us about perspective—how to find meaning in the moment, how to unlearn what we think we know, how to be infinitely curious, and how to enter into deeper conversations with ourselves, each other, the moment and the world.

When we meet the moment with a pen in our hands, we change our relationship to the world. We become narrators of our own lives—able to meet the story of the moment in fresh ways. 

In this two-day playshop (way more fun than a workshop!)

  • we will read and discuss poems that help us re-see the whirled,
  • and we’ll write and (if you wish) share our own poems, engaging in the powerful practice of showing up, leaning in to the realm of pure potential and joining our small voices in the big conversation. 

Everyone welcome. No previous writing experience necessary. What will happen when you show up?

Register HERE


The shocking tender curl of him,
   wild river, raging, rush of him,
     the eddied, lazy swirl of Sunday
   morning sleepy smile of him,
the flood-stage leaping wave of him,
   high overflowing shores of him,
     torrential reckless course of him,
       now empty, unfilled banks of—
     dry barren rocky bed of—
   the utter lack of here of—
the pray-for-rain parched air of him,
   dark growing rain cloud storm of him,
     the sometimes-I-hear-rapids hum,
       deep currents in my lungs of him
         how is it I still breathe him in—
       the river is inside me hymn.

           for Donavan Dailey
The heart perhaps thought it was open
until a moment of silence is followed by fingers
flying across nylon strings and then, with no warning,
the heart breaks open as a high alpine meadow in June,
splays wide as a snow-deep cirque midwinter,
is exposed as a woman sitting in the first row
with tears spilling down her cheeks.
The heart does not question why,
it simply opens, wider, lets the secret tango
move through its channels as only
a secret tango can do—dancing the heart
ever closer to the moment until, beating wild,
the heart forgets it could ever be anything
but spontaneous as jazz, honest as the man
being played by his guitar, expansive
as the silence that shimmers in the air
just after the last note rings.

I didn’t stop what I was doing
to enjoy the exotic red fruity notes,
didn’t pause my busy mind
to cherish the bold dark leaves.
That’s not to say I didn’t love drinking the tea.
I did. Every velvety sip.
And as I pulled the final muslin sachet
from the classic black box lined with gold foil,
I thought of the woman
who had bought me such extravagant tea
and I fell even more deeply in love with her.

I tell myself it’s not wrong
I divided my attention
between the delicate tea
and the generous sun
and the work that I love.
I tell myself they spoke to each other
in the most beautiful morning voices—
all of them conspiring
the way a violin and cello and piano conspire,
the way a poet and a pianist and an artist conspire,
the way strawberry and cocoa
and dark leaves conspire
to create something more from the moment—
an alchemy that only comes when we say yes
in the moment to everything.

Now, when I read those words I wrote,
I taste in them Tibetan flowers.
They wear the fragrance of sunshine,
the bouquet of exotic lands.
Now when I see the empty drawer
where the tea is not,
I dream of how I drank the last cup
as if it would last forever.

Down the Rabbit Hole

It’s the Year of the Rabbit,
and I can’t help but think
of the photo of my son
the week before he died
holding a white rabbit in Ecuador—
a rabbit he bought and loved for an hour.
“Mom,” he said through the phone,
“can I bring home a rabbit? Please?”
I told him it wouldn’t make it through customs,
but he could buy one here at home.   
It’s the Year of the Rabbit,
and it feels right the crawl spaces
beneath our porches now shelter
the sweetest brown bunnies.
Where did they come from?
Every day now, my husband feeds them
pellets and lettuce. Every day
I watch for their tracks in the snow,
thrill when I see the sweet lumps
of their bodies as they venture into the day.
It’s the year of the Rabbit,
a time, they say, for calm
and patient energy.
I don’t know if I believe in the zodiac,
but I believe in gentleness.
I believe in thinking things through.
I believe in peace.
It’s the Year of the Rabbit,
and I am in love with rabbits—
with their large ears and feet
and their quivering noses
and the way they have hopped their way
into my life bringing softness
where there has been pain,
bringing calm where there has been trauma.
I will go down that rabbit hole.
I will make in that burrow a home.  

Starlings in Winter

for Christie

Deep in the snowy woods,
we startle at the sound
of starlings as they braid
above the branches.
How often do I miss
the song of the moment?
But today, beside you
I could not miss
the sweet shushing of skis,
the sacred huff of breath,
the lyric of our laughter
and the strong refrain of my heart
as it wheeled like a starling,
a wild and soaring thing
drawn to fly with others,
ready to sing for no reason
except the joy of singing.

After Peeling the Beets

I resist peeling beets,
hate wearing their red tint
on my hands,
but today, the thought
of sweet roasted beets
was enough to make me
overcome my reticence.
Later, I notice it is impossible
to feel separate and alone
when my hands wear the evidence
of what they have touched.
I find myself wishing
everyone could see on my skin
how my life has been marked by you,
how everywhere we touched
I wear the stain of love.

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