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The way, of course.

Your mind, your head,

your hope, your heart.

Face. Your footing. Virginity.

Shirt buttons. Coat buttons.

Breath. Bearings.

Balance. Your deposit.

Your dignity.

Respect. Perspective.

Quarters and pens

between the car seats.

Your accent. Your appetite.

My trust. Baby teeth.

Your innocence. Sunglasses.

Your job. Your cool.

Your shirt. Your gut.

Your grip. Your hair.

The key to the house.

The key to your car.

The key to staying calm

when something crucial is lost.

Like time. Like memories—

the ones in which we had no clue

just how much we had to lose.

Like our nerve. Like our fear.

Like this day, our only chance

to show up. Like this now,

our next chance to let go.

Setting

In every conversation

there is a table made of listening.

Sometimes the tables are beautiful,

solid, clean—the kind

that can support anything

you put on them.

Sometimes, they’re like

the tv dinner trays

of my childhood—

a little rickety, but they’ll do

if what’s put on them is light.

Sometimes they’re so cluttered

that whatever’s placed on their surface

is almost immediately lost.

Let tonight’s table have a small vase of flowers

and a candle perhaps, nothing else.

May it be small enough we might

see each other’s eyes, might notice

every nuance of breath. Whomever

I am most nervous to invite,

may I invite them. And though

the tea is just a metaphor,

may I offer. May they accept.

Learning

Today the shadows

teach me to love

what is dim,

the sweet respite

of obscurity

when the sun

is too much

and a tree

yields its shape

so that I might slip

my clumsy heat

out of the bounds

of the vertical world

and find instead

a cool dark pool

on the ground,

as if I’m a boat

that has discovered

at last

a slim calm eddy

in which I might rest.

This is perhaps

the way we start

to meet our deaths—

sliding into the relief

of these dark, quiet

channels.

One Review

asked to rate my satisfaction

from one to five stars—

trying to submit the milky way

All summer it’s been twisting and winding,

twining around sunflowers,

stretching across pathways,

climbing the pea vines and the tall wire fence.

If there is a fairy godmother of flowers,

she must have said to the bindweed,

“I bless you with tenacity.” And forever since,

it has lived up to her generosity.

Why do I curse it for its persistence,

when I, myself, have made a life out of stubbornness?

Oh foolish woman who longs for beauty,

but pulls the bindweed before it is beautiful,

before its pale pink flowers open to morning

delicate as certainty.

One Capitulation

walking in the drizzle—

even my longing to stay dry

shines in the rain

Family Woman

Such awkward dance partners,

this longing to follow my own pursuits,

this longing to be ever available to you.

Both want to lead.

They step on each other’s feet.

One waltzes, though the other

has put on rock and roll.

One loves eye contact, the other

loves closed eyes to better feel the music.

And yet they whirl and two step every day,

taking turns swinging and dipping and bowing.

I used to think they were rivals.

Now I know neither wants to dance alone.

Even now, they’re pushing back the furniture,

rolling up the rug. There’s gonna be a real

fine hoedown tonight.

Amen

Oh green, I miss you,

miss how you used

to flourish in me,

no matter how brittle,

how brown I’d become.

I didn’t know then

I took you for granted.

I miss your softness,

your tenderness,

all the promise inside you,

the sunlight you carry

in your veins.

Some days I remember

what it is to be green.

Some days, when it’s gray,

I tell myself green is possible again.

Some days, when the rain

still doesn’t fall,

I practice how to break.

Some days, I swear I’ll find a way

to become green again,

no matter how unlikely,

how parched this field.

Somedays, though I long since

forgot how to pray,

the prayers find me anyway

and my empty hands

will not come down.

There

Digging

deeper

into the soil

of self

planting

only

seeds

of you.

One Wheeling

watching the comet

I, too, hurtle through the stars—

disappear beyond the horizon

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