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Posts Tagged ‘beginning’

 

 

 

the seed company sends their catalog

with 162 full-color pages of vegetables ready

 

to harvest. From snap peas and bush beans

to shallots and quinoa, plus every shape

 

and curl of leafy green—red ursa, red ruffled,

red Russian, Bolshoi. This is the same night

 

my son asks me as he falls asleep to explain

the difference between science and religion.

 

One, I say, is based on fact. The other,

I say, is based on faith. Though tonight,

 

as the temperature falls below ten,

and I regard the carrots, dark orange

 

and almost glowing off of page 29,

I begin to wonder how different

 

the two really are. I notice how the promise

of a slow-bolting, scab resistant

 

varietal sounds like a psalm I love—

the Lord, it says, will keep you from all harm—

 

and I look at the Royal Chatenays

and the Yaya Nantes and say out loud

 

to the dark kitchen windows and

to the cold winter air, I believe, I believe.

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November 26

 

 

 

No one will remember that this is the day

that my son and I stayed home

and he watched movies and I

met deadlines for work. It was the day

that I didn’t finish drying the apples,

the day I didn’t listen to a single song,

the day no snow fell in the yard.

It was, however, the anniversary

of Howard Carter opening Tutankhamun’s

tomb in Egypt, still virtually intact.

It’s still a few months from the day

he’ll discover the inner burial chamber—

for now, he is still ablaze with the thrill

of beginning, hopeful he’ll find

the sarcophagus. Does he know yet

that it will be made of solid gold?

The world is ripe with beginnings—

even in this season of dying and cold,

there’s always so much left to discover,

so much we do not yet know.

Eventually the movies are over and I finish

my article about Tuscan architecture

and my son and I again begin. No one will

ever remember how this is the day

we spent hours together at a table

with a puzzle fitting the thousand pieces in.

But I am still ablaze with beginning,

still in the thrill of his youth. I don’t yet know

where our lives will go, but I’m giddy

on laughter that only we two can hear,

the rest of the house quiet, no bells,

no shouts, no hum of the fruit as it dries.

 

 

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For all the history of grief
an empty doorway and a maple leaf.
—Archibald MacLeish

I wanted to start this story
at the end, but couldn’t think
of any stories I believe are truly over.

Certainly not the one about you
and me and our lilies, the way they
bloomed beyond their time, how

even long after they dropped their petals
they still manage to plant themselves
in my thoughts every week. And bloom again.

The end. Well, there’s just nothing
more to say after those two words,
and nothing else to listen to.

I don’t know about you, but I love
a cliffhanger in every story except my own,
love the way my stomach

turns inside out while I wonder what
happens next. Will he forgive her?
Will her body open again like day lilies,

over and over? Our books are written
in unreadable ink. And oh, this longing
for completion, this longing to know.

Any garden could tell you that even after
the flowers die there’s the long slow plot of rotting,
the unhurried scenes of worms and grubs,

and even if the flowers are later replaced
by weeds, well the story itself doesn’t care
where it goes. Only the hero wants to know

that everything will be okay. But the story
it just keeps rising from the loam
of any old once upon a time.

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on the wall
those shadows so much larger
than our problems

*

in the frost
on the window she writes
her name

*

recalling all those
prayers
I never learned

*

like a worm in kale,
something nibbling
all night on her dreams

*

air, snow, shadow, wind
she loses any names
she has been given

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