Posts Tagged ‘crying’

months after the storm
the rain

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And so the boy who would become
the emperor of Rome, the boy
who would one day defeat the Parthian Empire
and rebel Kingdom of Armenia,
the boy who would rule through the Antonine Plague
the boy who would become father of Stoicism—
when that boy learned of the death
of his favorite tutor, he wept and wept,
was a wild and uncontrollable thing.
And his stepfather, the emperor,
refused to let him be comforted
or calmed. “Neither philosophy
nor empire takes away natural feeling,”
he said. Oh, the gift of being given ourselves—
despite teachings, despite expectation,
despite shoulds, despite strength—
the gift to fall deeper into our own humanness,
horrible and beautiful as it is, to know the terrible
blessing of love, oh how it hurts, to know
ourselves as tender beings, to trust how
our love touches everything. Everything.  

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Ode to Syn-propanethial-S-oxide

You hide in the flesh of onions

the way hope hides in certain Superbowl commercials.

It’s not that I don’t expect you,

so why does it feel like an ambush when you,

chemical irritant released into air,

bring tears to my eyes and I stand there

at the kitchen counter weeping

over the cutting board,

weeping as if a lover died,

as if listening to cello,

as if I realize again there is so much suffering

in the world I cannot change.

You remind me it’s natural to cry—

that waterworks are hardwired into the eyes.

You teach me sometimes what nourishes us

also burns.

There are times when I’ve wondered

why we aren’t all weeping—

weeping for the lack of connection,

weeping for children who hunger,

weeping for love between friends

and the red of maple leaves—

it’s as if you give us permission,

prepare the pathways,

so that when at last we succumb

to our glorious humanity

we don’t try to hide it,

we don’t act as if it’s a problem,

we just stand in the center of the room

and let those hot tears

fall down our cheeks,

the salt sharp and hot on our tongues.

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Why the Women Cry

Lara and I sit side by side in her rocking chairs.
Like old women. We are old women.
Or at least much older than when we first
had sleepovers at her house in seventh grade.
She would tell me her secretest thoughts
late at night and I, laying in the trundle
bed beneath and beside her would often fall asleep
in the middle. Oh how she would pummel
me then with her pillow. Her anger was
as real as her tears.


At first I think she is laughing. I turn
down the music to hear the small
gurgles in the backseat. It is dark.
Sweetheart, I say to my girl, are you laughing?
Now I hear they are sobs.


In the search bar I type:
myth why people cry.
In seconds I am led to 9,980,000
results. People crying for myth.
Myths about crying and depression.
But there are no stories I can find
about the why of the tears.


It was her nephew who died.
As we rock, we talk about him and his life.
She loved him. He was the first
child she ever knew. Avalanche.
Though it doesn’t much matter,
the why. He’s dead. She says,
I knew him, but I never really knew him.
He never totally let me in.


My daughter is scared.
Mom, she says, are there any
other cars going the same way
that we are going?
Yes, my love, I say. We are moving
at the same rate and at the same time
in the same direction, so we cannot see them.
Does it scare you that we seem to be alone?
Yes, she says. Yes, I say, it can be scary
to feel alone.


Once upon a time there lived a woman.
She was all alone. She lived by the sea.
The sea frightened her. It was vast
and deep and full of things
she could not understand.


Lara does not cry. Not tonight.
She tells me about how her nephew
has lived so much in such a short time.


Grown ups don’t cry, my daughter says,
when I tell her it’s alright to cry.
Oh sweetheart, I say, yes they do.
Mommy cries all the time.


The woman who lived by the sea
stood on the beach and looked at the water
for many, many days.
At last she said to the ocean,
what do you have to teach me?
And the ocean said nothing at all.
But she could feel in her such
a great, great emptiness
so she began to drink. At first
a sip. Then another. She could taste in it
the unfurling of the intricate undersea fans.
She could taste in the water the blood of a recent kill.
She could taste the wreckage, the rainbow,
the force of the waves. And she drank
and she drank and she drank.


When I was 23, I remember
reading in a magazine about
how if you cried more than 2 times
a week, it meant that you were depressed.
Oh, I thought, but I cry at least two times a day,
and I am the happiest person I know.


And when she had swallowed the entire sea,
the violence, the glassine façade, the sludge
and the tug and the roar and the still,
she sat on the beach and was satisfied
that it all was inside of her.
Until she remembered the pleasure,
could it be? that she’d felt when she was
more empty. Less knowing. Less full
of it all. More thirsty. More space.
The world then was more mysterious.
And she began to, what was it?
cry. Something no one had done
before. Oh the salt. Oh the sting.
Oh the ferocity of the act as the sea
spilled out of her. And sometimes, too,
she leaned into the gentleness.
And slowly the shore became a shore
and again the sea became a sea.
And the woman then understood
what it meant to gain and lose things.


This night, when I am ready for sleep,
Lara does not throw her pillow at me.
She kisses me good night, and we lean
our bodies into each others bodies,
then climb the stairs to our husbands, our beds.


Mama, she says, you cry?
Oh yes, my love. I try to imagine
how she has not seen this before.
Inside I feel the teeth of the eel,
the ship without an anchor,
the shifting of the rising shore.

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