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Posts Tagged ‘friendship’

 

 

Despite the fact the road is empty

there’s a way that two friends

 

will bump into each other as they walk,

as if they are two wine glasses clinking,

 

toasting to the trees around them,

to the cold clear air, to the laughter

 

that rises, to the joy of finding themselves

walking the same road at the same time.

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Docetaxel

 

The yew can live to be over two thousand years old—

a sacred tree that grows large enough for forty people

 

to stand inside it. Today, its ancient power fits

in a clear plastic bag the size of two fists and it drips

 

through a clear plastic tube into the chest of my friend.

In three days, she will not want to move. She will not

 

want to eat. She will wonder if it’s all worth it.

It will last a week. So strange that a plant

 

that causes death when consumed will help

to save her life. Her hair has been gone for weeks.

 

But today, on her last day of chemo, I marvel

at how she is being infused with evergreen

 

in the hopes that she will transmogrify, carry

in her the mystery that grows in the bark of the tree.

 

When a yew branch touches the ground, it takes root.

Sprouts again. Let her body know this secret. Amen.

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Darn Lucky

 

 

 

It happens, you know—the day opens itself

like a tulip in a warm room, and you meet someone

who amazes you with their willingness

to be a thousand percent alive, someone

who makes you feel grateful to be you.

 

And it’s as if life has been keeping a beautiful

secret from you—like the fact that they make

elderberry flowers into wine. Like muscadine.

Like the yellow-green floral scent of quince.

Like the perfect knot for tying your shoes.

 

And it turns out life does have wonderful

secrets waiting for you. Even when the news

makes you cry. Even when some old pain returns,

that’s when you will meet this new friend.

Someone wholly themselves. Someone

 

who makes you smile in the kitchen, a smile so real

that when you go out, the whole world notices.

It’s enough to make you want to wake up in the morning.

To go into the day. To be unguarded as a tulip, petals

falling open. You never know who you might meet.

 

 

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after her funeral

hanging her ornaments

on the evergreen

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As the Chemo Begins

 

 

 

Most of her hair was gone already,

but I guided the electric razor across her scalp,

brown tufts falling into my fingers.

 

We listened to music, drank wine,

toasted to vulnerability. She made jokes

about not needing to buy shampoo.

 

I sang along with the songs we had chosen—

choked on the lyrics to “Life is Wonderful,”

hummed when I couldn’t sing.

 

There are days when wonderful

is so far from what we might have chosen,

but wonderful it was, my hands

 

smoothing across the new naked landscape

of her head, delighting in the feel of the fuzz,

marveling at the gift of sharing loss and fear.

 

There are days when we lean into each other

and cry. And such a terrible wonderful it is,

letting the tears come. Weeping them together.

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no wine, so we toast

with our laughter—

our joy half full

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Part of me wants to give you

the book of answers, the solution key,

to help you know which decision, A, B, C or D,

will bring the most healing, the most happiness.

I no longer believe in such a book, such a key.

 

Instead I wish for you the peace

that comes only with surrender—

a word that sounds beyond reason

until it becomes beacon, becomes

north star, becomes map.

 

May you know for certain

that in every case, you are beloved.

May you know beyond doubt

that no matter what happens,

you always become more essential, more you.

 

 

 

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potato chips

and muscadine wine—

communion of friends
*

 

the audition—

showing up

the most important role

 

*

 

on the road to bald-faced

the joy on the path

so true

 

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for Jack Ridl

 

 

My friend Jack is really St. Peter.

I trust him. He has a knack

for finding the good in people,

 

for bringing it out. He has a way

of creating Eden out of a blank page,

out of a living room, out of pixels.

 

He knows the gate to paradise

is right here. He knows how to say,

“Fuck death.” He knows how to love

 

the world, how to hold those

who need to be held, how to care.

I am not always so sure I believe

 

in God, but I always believe in Jack.

Sometimes when I ache, when

I don’t know how to write another word,

 

Jack will send me a note. He’ll say

something like, “Grief is an ambush,”

and then, just knowing he understands,

 

I go on. I watch the willows turn yellow.

And Jack is here, too, holding open the pearly gate

so that heaven will slip through to this world.

 

He’s got his cup of coffee ready, and one for you

and me, too, to toast to all the beauty that is,

to all the beauty still left to be made.

 

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What One Evening Can Do

 

for Christie and Dave

 

 

Tonight, just when I am ready

to believe the news and give up

on humanity, someone I love invites me

to her home and fills my glass

with wine that her husband has made.

 

And the husband brings me plates of cheese

and crackers and tomatoes he grew

in his garden, and they tell me stories

about travel and books, and they give me

a bed with clean white sheets

 

and a tall glass of good cold water

and an open window to let in the breeze.

All night the coyotes sing in the canyon,

a reminder of the wild nature of things,

and in the moments before sleep, I feel certain

 

that the world is good, that we are here

to take care of each other and the land

we live on, that one beautiful act will inspire

countless more, and that love can change

everything, All night, the coyotes sing.

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