Posts Tagged ‘freedom’


After skate skiing on groomed track for months,
following only the preset path, today
I wake early enough to ski on the hardened crust
of spring morning snow. Suddenly,
the whole valley is a playground. And
it’s freedom. Freedom to move in any
direction. Freedom to loop or climb or follow
the river. Freedom that seeps into breath, into smile,
into my understanding of what it means to be alive.
And the whole time I skate and pole
and propel myself over snow
I hear an inner refrain from Romans:
And death shall have no dominion.
Not a still small voice, but a resonant boom.
And I, so alive in this sweet slip of time,
know that though my son has died
and my father has died, here I am,
carrying their love, and alive. Alive!
Alive through the winter.
Alive though I grieve. Alive. Alive as I skate
through willows and aspen and wide open white.
Lungs burning, legs striding, heart beating
hard in my chest. I know myself as breath
and return to the wholeness that never left.
Skating across the frozen world, the sparkling crust,
I live into this life that so wants to be lived,
this life that asks everything, everything of us.

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            for Jennifer and Jennifer

And once again I am twenty-four
and I walk out the door
of our master’s exam and meet
my classmates down by the lake
and the day is hot and we drink cold beer
until we think jumping off the end
of the pier is a great idea, so
we kick off our shoes and run fully dressed
to the edge and launch and splash
and swim until we arrive at a party barge
full of men who pull us dripping
and life-giddy into their midst
and we do shots of something
that blissfully burns before laughing we
return to the open lake and side stroke back
to the shore where nothing’s the same
as it was before, though it still looks the same—
metal chairs still orange, our hair still brown,
the humid sky hazy, loud cheers all around—
but our lives will soon hurl us
in different directions—
to lovers and children and unanswerable
questions where the real tests cannot
be studied for with friends, and life’s master’s
degree doesn’t end till life ends, but oh,
for those few moments on the terrace,
soaking and shivering and whooping in glee,
my god, we were free, we were free, we were free.

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a freedom bouquet—

scarlet gilia, blue larkspur,

and small white daisies—

may these flowers of the field

grow wild in your heart tonight

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To walk alone

on the dirt road.

Whatever the weather,

to be grateful for it.

To step and step

and step again—

not toward an end,

but for the joy

of stepping.

Squirrel tail.

Creek scent.

Swish of last year’s leaves.

Nowhere to be

but here.

And the next here.

And next.To know

the self as traveler.

To know the self

as road.

To know each step

as freedom when

there’s nowhere

to go.






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from a dream inspired by Sharon



And I tried. I tried.

Except steep hills. Except

stop signs. Except fear.


Then one day,

the brake simply

didn’t work anymore.


I thought perhaps

I’d forgotten which pedal

was the brake.


I tried flooring the pedal,

anyway, though I knew

it wouldn’t work.


At first, I hated it. Was terrified,

really. Then—right through

the intersection,


right down the steepest hill—

there it was, I was in it,

the flow, the flow.

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One Release



you the red kite

I thrill to fly—

and me

cutting the line,

learning I, too, can fly


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In the movie,

that’s not being made,

the one I star in,

my character, who looks

exactly like me,

is mowing the lawn,

exactly like me,

only when I go

to put the lawnmower

away by the barn,

she just keeps walking,

pushing that red Toro

down the side of the highway,

oblivious to the drivers

who stare and honk.

And there’s no orchestra

swelling, just a single

bassoon with a dark,

warm reedy timbre.

There she goes,

in her flip flops

and sun hat,

obviously not ready

for what’s about to happen

and not caring a whit,

leaving in her wake

a trail of freshly cut weeds,

and the scent of spring grass,

her figure getting

smaller and smaller

on the horizon.


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We are perhaps

like the plover

who made her nest

in the rocks

too close to the river’s

edge. The water

is rising rapidly.

We never

expected loss.

We almost

forgot that we

have wings.


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This morning when she pours the milk

into the child’s cup, she doesn’t stop.

She pours until the cup is full, until

it spills across the counter, ’til it spills

onto the floor. She pours and pours

until the kitchen is flooded in milk,

it is up to her knees, it is up to her waist,

it is dammed against the kitchen door,

which she opens, then she floats the creamy tide

into morning, riding atop the pearly tide.

With one hand, she waves at her neighbors,

with the other she continues to pour the milk.

She is surfing now through the streets of town,

past the bank, past the school, past the crowd

who has gathered to stare. “Oh,” they say,

with a shake of their heads, “she has really lost it

this time, bless her heart,” and they step

on the curb to keep their feet from getting wet,

and she smiles and blows them a one-handed kiss,

and with her other hand she pours and pours.

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Concourse B

She walks so easily down the concourse,

the young woman in the short dress and sandals,

her purse slung across her slender shoulder.

She’s not encumbered by much that I can see—

no children pulling on her shirt, no carry on

rolling behind her, no backpack or heavy purse.

I can’t help but notice how light she might feel,

what with her skiff of a sundress. I can almost smell

the freedom like a perfume she doesn’t know

she is wearing. I was like her, once, at least that

is what I would like to think, though I know better

than to project this way. It is easy to imagine

that she is free in ways I once was, though

never knew. Who can say what invisible chains

weight us down. Looking back, I notice

how little I noticed then. On a whim,

I decide to pretend I am older now looking back

at myself. Oh look, look at her, how light she is.

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