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Posts Tagged ‘change’

Gestation

The day you died, I remember thinking
how much it felt like your birth.
All the blood. The way they swaddled
your body in white. How I sang to you
the same song I sang on your first day:
a howl of pain,
then a chant that called on the pure light
within you to guide your way on.
Most of all, I remember thinking
I didn’t know how to live in this altered world—
the only way to learn was by doing.
Just as a new mother learns minute by minute
how to nurse, to comfort, to sleep,
how to change her life to meet the new child,
so this old mother learned minute by minute
to let go, to grieve, to breathe, to sleep,
how to change my life to meet a day without you.
It’s been forty-one weeks since you died.
It takes forty weeks to form a child.
It feels as if I’ve been pregnant
with the loss of you. So embodied.
So aware of great change. Is it strange
to feel I’ve been birthed by your death?
Just like when you were born, I’ve been
transformed by an overwhelming love.
It is not at all the same. It’s the same.
I am no longer the woman I was.

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            while listening to Kayleen Asbo’s “Cypresses”


The wind, that knows itself only by what
it touches, does not whip your hair
as it churns through the wide golden wheat fields,
does not steal your hat as it tosses
the clouds into frothy white and violet whorls,
does not slap your face as you stare
at the silver-green branches of olive trees
upswept into turbulent curves. You’re just looking.

Until you realize the wind has breached the frame
and touched you the way it touches all that it loves,
and your heart knows what it perhaps wishes
it did not know—that all is changed and rearranged,
all gets stirred up and remade, even the cypress,
even the mountains, even the stubborn heart.


you can see the painting here

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The Softening




I carry it with me now, everywhere I go,
this softness, this limp unstuffed toy, a puppy
with a thin square body made for snuggling.
I carry it in my purse where it mingles
with my wallet, my glasses, my lipstick,
my loss. When I’m walking, I reach in
and let my fingers rub its soft, worn fleece.
When I’m watching a movie, once it’s dark,
I pull it out and let Skinny Puppy settle in my lap,
as if its brown embroidered eyes could see.
I know it’s just an object, but it’s a well-loved object,
some small proof that my boy was here,
that he loved, loved hard, loved long.
I remember how he carried Skinny to school,
clutching the small brown scrap to his belly
when we would say goodbye. I remember
how long after the toy trains and model tractors
and even the complicated Legos had gone away,
Skinny still slept on his pillow.
It’s been worn down by love, this old friend,
and made even softer by the loving—
like me, an old woman who has become
frayed, sentimental, slightly tattered,
distressed, but so shaped by love, and softened,
yes, softened. Even more myself, only softer.

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Almost Imperceptible




The winter river
flows beneath
the ice,
then enters
low below
my thoughts,
its song
so slow
I almost miss
its strains,
how all is current—
dying, living,
gaining, losing,
forgetting and
remembering—
how all is
stagnant,
all is
change.

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Starting Place


 
 
When all my plans have changed
and changed again, and then again,
I notice the stubborn part of me who
rails against change, who wishes plans
could go as planned. And I judge her—
judge her like I’m a ruler-smacking teacher
who shames children in front of class.
You should be more resilient, I chastise her.
You should know after fifty-some years
you will need to adjust. And these changes
are small stuff. What is wrong with you?
And I feel the animal of myself contract.
 
If one of my friends were upset about change,
I’d murmur, Oh, darling, that sounds rough.
And with no effort, my voice
would unspool in silken thread.
Could I speak to myself like a darling, a friend?
Darlin’, I start, but it comes out a thick sneer,
and I add, Oh, so you’re gonna fail
compassionate self-talk, too … darlin’?
Begin again. Deep breath. Hey, darling,
are you in there? And I follow the breath
into a softening, my whole body
tuning more open, sincere. Yeah, darling,
my voice is naked now. Change is hard. I’m here.

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There will be weather.
There will be some measure of light.
The earth will not pause, will not stop
in its spinning. The morning
will stretch into night.
And whatever I feel,
I won’t feel it forever.
And whatever I love
will someday be lost—
no matter how well I love it,
no matter my hopes,
no matter how tightly I grasp.
But the love itself, love
can continue to grow
in ways that defy
what I think I know—
if only I tend it, meet it.
And the mountains around me
are falling down.
Somewhere else,
mountains are being made.
Our Milky Way Galaxy,
sure in its course, will collide
with Andromeda Galaxy someday.
That someday will not be today.
Today there will be thousands of chances
to choose to be generous.
I am what I give.
I have a love light to carry.
Gravity wins.
Today is the day to live.

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Look like th' innocent flower,
But be the serpent under ’t. 
	—Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, Act I, Scene V, by William Shakespeare



Again tonight Macbeth kills Duncan,
stabs him in his sleep as he has done
for four hundred twenty-five years,
as he’s destined to do for how many
hundreds of years more, never able
to break from what’s been written,
ever a victim of his flaws. As I walk
away from the blood-stained stage
into the warm night, I notice how
with every step across the damp grass
my story is still being written,
notice how unfinished I am—
a flawed human yet in service
to the human I will become.
Praise the power to evolve,
the chance to choose to be flower
and not the snake beneath it. Praise
the power to walk away from the script,
to walk away from prophesy, to walk
into the next scene as it comes. Praise
the chance to change, to transform, to turn
while the candle, though brief, still burns.

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Clean Slate

It’s almost always sunny just before
it snows—just before the sky turns grey
then meets the earth in giant swaths
of blue turned clouds turned snow turned drift,
and haven’t you sometimes wanted
to do that, too—to shift in an instant
from warm to cool, from blue to gray,
to know yourself as the opposite
of what you are, just as a day does,
an entirely new syntax unspooling
in swirling verbs and whirling predicates
so complex you forget who the subject is—
haven’t you wanted to flurry, to blizzard,
to white out until there were no tracks
like sentences left for you to follow?

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I throw in any tallies
I’ve been keeping,
the ones that record
who did what and when.
I throw in all the letters
I wrote in my head but didn’t send.
I throw in tickets I didn’t buy
to places I didn’t visit.
I throw in all those expectations
I had for myself and the world last year
and countless lists of things I thought I should do.
I love watching them ignite,
turn into embers, to ash.
I love the space they leave behind
where anything can happen.

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and when

the larkspur

petals fall and when

the fall begins to sing

and when the song weaves

through the loss and when

the loss dyes

everything, when

everything is

emptier and emptiness

is whole somehow, when

whole is what a life

does, when life is

what is now, when

now is

ever changing

and changing knows

no end, when

any ending

I might seek is

just another

when

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