Posts Tagged ‘choice’


It’s not the meteor shower
with its wild arcs of light
that unzip the velvet dark—
what moves me is the one star
that manages to shine
through the thick atmosphere,
a lone light in this giant dome,
not more than a speck,
yet it persists, constant.
There are many ways to shine,
it seems to say, its tiny glint
winking against midnight.
And the dark is deep and long.

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In a time of drought
let me choose to love you
the way yucca blooms—
creamy, abundant, soft—
despite drought.
No. Because drought.

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Only after I step one foot over the cliff
do I realize the drop is so deep
and the pool in the river below so small
that the chances of hitting the water at all
seem infinitesimal.
I thought nothing could stop me from my course,
but seeing the rocks so far below
and knowing how likely it is I would hit them,
now I stand one foot on the desperate edge.
The other foot, free as a prophecy, hovers in the air.

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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.

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It could happen any time, tornado, earthquake, Armageddon. It could happen.

                       — Yes, William Stafford



It’s Saturday and I’m choosing to sit on a broken fence,

the logs all weathered and fallen.

I am choosing to sit in the sun on a broken fence

beside a dirt parking lot in a high desert.

Perhaps I do not really believe

that this is the only moment that matters?

Perhaps I don’t trust that I could be gone,

that all life could be gone in one blink,

in one bomb, in one meteorite.


Or is it that I choose to sit on a broken fence

beside a dirt parking lot with the scent of pine

edging each breath and the sound

of cottonwood leaves rustling then stilling

because this, too, matters, this willingness

to treat each breath as if it were the first,

to treat each place as if it is the last

and give it my full attention. To be like the birds

sitting on the barbed wire knowing now, now

is the moment to sing.

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One at the Chasm




just as I decide

I will never be ready

the unstoppable urge to leap

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Catkins in March



But the Hebrew word, the word timshel—”Thou mayest”— that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open.

            —John Steinbeck, East of Eden



Today it was the aspen buds

that ruined my heart.


One glimpse of them

through the window, and


for that moment,

the inner winter I’d constructed


out of should and shalt

fell down like bricks. Perhaps I could have


returned to work, but instead

stared at the soft gray


tufts of spring. How they defy

the stubborn chill. And almost


against my will, in me I felt

an opening I didn’t quite want,


and perhaps I didn’t want to hear

a small voice saying, you


have a choice, you

have a choice.



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Five Rescues

standing on the unstable
edge of the life raft—
choosing to fall in


between one wave
and the next, writing
love poems to breath


everything that hasn’t
happened yet—
the end


the urge to take control—
by controlling
the urge to take control


finding a life raft
on the inside—
resting there

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—inspired by a title by Martha McFerren

Well, it wasn’t exactly a road, it was
more of a choice she was trying to make,
but somehow calling it a road made it seem
more manageable. At first she had thought it
an ocean. But that required a boat, and she
got seasick even on Lake Michigan, so for the sake
of success, she changed it to crossing a river,
but then even that seemed too hard, all that innuendo
of eddy and rapid and current and she remembered
the time when she nearly drowned, held beneath
the river’s surface for what, in the end, was not
long enough to see her life flash by. No, she thought,
not a river. Perhaps a great divide. But she was,
quite honestly, in a bit of a hurry, and the mountain pass
just seemed too hard. A road, she thought, yes,
a country road. A dirt road with not a car in sight. Not even
a bike. Perhaps a mailbox on the other side, with a little metal
red flag that she could put up just to prove that she’d done it,
but the flag was stuck and refused to budge and she
got so mad at the whole metaphor that she turned the road
into a path and just kept walking its length,
one foot in front of the other.

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It was here first,
the bindweed.
Before you even

paved the drive
it had sent roots
down sixteen feet—

not a defense mechanism,
just survival.
It had put out

those delicate
pink flowers, too,
trumpeting each morning,

long before you,
blooming not to be beautiful,
but just because

blooming is what bindweed do.
So when you
wake one morning

and see how its leaves
have pushed up
green arrowheads

through the asphalt,
bumping up what is flat,
the asphalt now cracked,

you could choose
to curse it and
you could choose to say

what barriers
will I push through

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