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Posts Tagged ‘friendship’

Abundance

 

for Sally

 

 

In these days, we don’t speak

of drought, we speak of water—

the impossible blue sea near Phuket

and the wide Colorado River.

We speak of turquoise and green

and aquamarine and you make water

with three hydrogen molecules.

We speak of the bull in India

that stored water on its back.

We speak of drinking black chia seeds

as they did in the desert.

We speak of the coming storm,

of floods, of the deluge,

the way water changes things.

It is no surprise that I think of you

as water—something pure, something

necessary, something true—

and in these days I choose

not to think of drought, I think

of turquoise, green and aquamarine

and wish it for you.

 

 

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And if you should find yourself

in the parking lot of tears,

then I will knit you a handkerchief

of poems—they won’t stop

the crying, but then you

will never weep alone—

every tear a chance to connect,

every tear a chance

to fall deeper in love.

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for Phyllis

 

 

in the long darkness

she makes lanterns of poems

guides us one light at a time

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She wants to go see the bluebonnets, she says.

This is after she tells me they’ve said she has three months to live.

And I want to find her vast fields of bluebonnets,

acres and acres of white-tipped blue bloom.

And I want to send her more springs to see them in,

more days to live one day at a time. I want to remove

the pain in her belly, the pain that aggressively grows.

I want to make deals with the universe. Want to say no

to the way things are. I want to tell death to wait.

I want to tell life to find a way. I want to hug her

until she believes she’s beloved. I want to give her

the pen that will write every brave thing

that she’s been unable to say. There are days

when we feel how uncompromising it is, the truth.

How human we are. There are days when the bluebonnets

stretch as far as the eye can see. There are days

we know nothing is more important than going to see them,

a billion blue petals all nodding in the wind, teaching us to say yes.

 

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A metal table in the sun. Beyond it, winter.

Two women sit, brought here by rambling.

 

One woman weeps, tears of mortality.

The other woman rhymes with her.

 

Everything rhymes eventually, though

neither of them know it yet. The grass.

 

The snow. The dirt. The way the two women lean

into shadows. It’s not that time makes demands,

 

it’s just that the women still see themselves

as separate. They grasp at the present,

 

thinking this makes them a part of it.

Meanwhile, the birds. Meanwhile,

 

the trees. Meanwhile, the cells, changing.

Meanwhile the sun slides down the sky.

 

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I fell in love, today, with the black

and blue marker stains on the table

made by the two-year-old boy—

he colored in the circles he’d drawn

with so much enthusiasm that the ink

seeped through the paper

and into the lemon cream paint on the table

where no amount of scrubbing could remove it.

 

It wasn’t so much the stain though, no,

and it wasn’t the color. What I fell in love with

was the way his mother didn’t see

that the table was ruined. She saw

that he did such a fine, precise job,

that he took so much pleasure in the coloring.

And when I apologized for bringing markers

that didn’t easily wash, she looked at me

with so much surrender and said,

“On a day like today,

who could worry about a table?”

 

It was yesterday they found the dog

waiting beside the car.

It was this morning the skier’s body was found

in a massive snow slide.

It was all day, through the stupor of loss,

I fell in love with the shape of empty branches,

the scent of black tea, the sound

of my son’s voice, fell in love

with the grace in the way my friend shrugged

when she saw the table, the way she hugged

her son. She offered me chocolate from London.

We ate the squares slowly. All day the gray edge

of grief made every little thing

more precious, more sweet.

 

 

 

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It took five days, but at last I thought of you, old friend,

friend I loved and wanted to trust, friend

 

who burned every bridge I tried to build between us,

who turned gratitude and apology to smoke, to ash,

 

who taught me that love is not enough—a lesson

I never wanted to learn, which is why I am grateful

 

you helped me to learn it.

No one gets through life without injury.

 

Still, I wanted to believe that a kiss and forgiveness

could make things better, but some things

 

are better left broken. Thank you for teaching me

that all passes, that even without a road, without

 

a bridge, without a track, the train of time

finds a way to keep moving, eventually

 

speeding by so fast that what seemed

unable to be overcome becomes a blur

 

and that hope gives way to something even

more beautiful: saying yes to what is real.

 

So though you will never know it, I forgive you

for your scissored words and sharpened

 

silences. I forgive you for giving up on love,

for saying no, goodbye. It takes almost no effort now.

 

Even uranium has a half-life—albeit 4.5 billion years.

How much sooner forgiveness has come. More like a lawn

 

that went unwatered and dried to brown, to dust,

but then when seasonal rains returned, turned green.

 

Yes, thriving and lush, here is the new lay of the land,

ready for anyone to arrive. Anyone. Even you.

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One Friendship

 

for Corinne

 

 

skiing into the blizzard

finding laughter in gusts and drifts

skiing out into sunshine

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And when they say, I am going to eat ice cream

until I feel better, perhaps say, What flavor?

 

And when they say, I am going to cry myself to sleep,

perhaps say, May the night hold you as you cry.

 

What is it in us that wants to say, Don’t cry?

And since when has trying to stop the tears worked, anyway?

 

My teacher speaks of the greatest gift:

to give a person themselves.

 

I think of when I told my friend I did not feel beautiful.

She did not rush to argue with me.

 

She let me outline my reasons.

She hummed in soft agreement.

 

Her nods nourished me like a clear lake.

I threw my stones of self-doubt in its waters till it stilled.

 

So when they say, I feel terrible, perhaps say,

Yes, it is a difficult day. Perhaps add a knowing hum.

 

Add a nod. A hug if they want it.

And give them their own words,

 

how they shine like daylight,

bright enough they see, perfectly, themselves.

 

 

 

 

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for Sherry Richert Belul

 

 

With a LOVE stamp, the woman I’ve never met

mailed me five dollars, “to be a reminder

that abundance can come unexpectedly,”

 

she wrote, and sitting with her letter in my lap,

I thought of last night’s snow—

five white inches that fell after midnight

 

and softened the whole hard world.

And I thought of the orchid on my mantle

that sprouted a new stem of purple buds

 

even as the other stem continued to bloom.

And I thought of my office mate bringing in

nine tins of exotic teas to share. And my daughter

 

sending me a text to say she loved me “soooo much.”

And I thought of a woman in a town a thousand

miles away, a woman I have never met,

 

who thought, “I think I’ll send five dollars

to someone who brought abundance into my life.”

How simple it is to manifest unforeseen joy.

 

How clear the invitation to extend gratitude,

to spread good will, to remind each other

how the world will offer itself, will open

 

and open and open, how we, ourselves,

are the agents of the world.

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