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Posts Tagged ‘distance’

 

for Jack and Julie

 

Though I am running on a dirt road in Colorado

my mind is in Michigan near a small pond

where dozens of stoic frogs rest around a stone Buddha.

 

The Buddha, I suppose, would disapprove

and tell me to let my thoughts be where I am,

but there is joy in letting them run free

 

and noticing where they choose to go.

They move from the pond up the steps and into a house,

then stroll into rooms where books

 

are piled in every corner and a new puppy

begs to be loved. We all want to be loved,

don’t we, which is perhaps why my thoughts

 

continue to run to this warm kitchen where

the tea pot is always ready with hot water

and there is a half-complete drawing

 

waiting on the table. Home of music,

home where poetry comes for pizza,

home where love is abundant as frogs

 

still resting there beside the Buddha.

Odd comfort in knowing that they are still there,

those frogs, even when I am not. Odd comfort

 

in finding the mind knows how to return,

though it’s over a thousand miles from here—

like one of those stories about the dogs

 

who, against all odds, return to their owners

though they’ve been dropped off many states away.

And why not return to the voices and stories

 

of people we love—why not trust our internal maps

to bring us closer? Why not bring them with us

on the long dirt road where the sky is darkening

 

and the mile markers blur into uncertain futures?

There is so little we can trust—but this detour

feels honest, real as the smile of the Buddha

 

as the frogs leap all around, real as the scent

of paprika and cheese, real as the laughter in the kitchen

so humble and alive the whole world  leans in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I’m gonna make me a potion of guardrails,

the silver kind that line mountain roads,

and some barbed wire fences, the kind

that shred skin that comes too close.

I’ll put in ravines and chasms and cliffs

so high no one’s ever seen the top.

And I’ll distill it into a single drop

and put it into a crystal vial that fits

in the pocket closest to my heart.

And I’ll sleep with it on my pillow.

And I’ll drink that potion, I swear I will,

if you come one step closer, even in my dreams,

with those tender hands, those lips

so full of kisses, those promises

that it will be different this time.

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less than the width
of my thumb, the distance between
Venus and the moon—

and you, in arm’s reach,
light years away

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Three Through the Glass

field of snow
dry grass pokes through, not one single
fallen angel

*

into the woods
the rabbit tracks only go
one way

*

staring at snow,
sitting beside the vase
of white lilies

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Sitting beneath the weeping willow,
what did we know then of distance?
Everything was close then—
the Five-and-Dime, just a few blocks away,
where we could buy a roll of Necco wafers
for just ten cents and share them under the tree.
The great strings of leaves hanging about us,
a canopy, a room of green, a world where we could hide,
though there was nothing much to hide from.

Remember how we, even with our fingertips touching,
could not hug even half the tree, our cheeks
pressed into the thick gray bark in an effort to span something great.

There were days we would slip ourselves into the low split
in the enormous trunk and not come out for hours.
We would pull back the bark to where the trunk was smooth,
a warm brown, and there on the underside of the bark,
we uncovered the curvy carvings of beetles or worms.
We thought they were treasure maps, and spent days
deciphering the strange markings. Oh my brother,
those days were the treasure.

The lines to you now are long curves on a map
that stretches east from the Rockies to the Great Lakes.
I am reaching these grown up arms toward you
in an effort to span something great.
What did we know then of distance,
those green summer days?

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