Posts Tagged ‘bitterness’


Today again I thank the arugula

for the way it teaches me

that sharpness, too, is what

draws us in, that we come

not just to forgive

but to crave what is bitter,

what bites us back.

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My son cuts the rhubarb while I
hull the strawberries. We sing
scales and talk about hacking.
That’s a lot of sugar, he says,
as he pours the measuring cup
into the mixing bowl. I think
of all the things I wish I could sweeten.
Just today, I kept returning
to the same bitter views.
It was like touching a bruise
to be sure it still hurts.
It still hurts. I think about how
the Dalai Lama might tell me,
go ahead. Pick up the burning coals
and throw them at the man
you think deserves them. Of course
the only hand to get hurt is mine,
but all day, I reach for the coals,
even now as my son and I
turn our talk to growing things.
This summer, we’ll harvest
our own rhubarb stalks after waiting
for three full years. I try to turn
my thoughts toward sweetnesses.
My boy. The honey of singing.
The way that the ground brings forth
what is green and vital,
year after year after year.
The pie fills the house
with a wonderful scent
as it bakes, the marriage
of sharp and sugar. You can’t
bake a pie without fire, I think.
I leave the coals where they are.

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