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Posts Tagged ‘friendship’

IMG_0343

 

Just two weeks ago, it was sufficient

to say, hello, good morning, good bye.

But now, in every text, every email,

every phone call, I tell my friends

and family how much I love them.

I tell them life is better because

they are in it. I say it with the urgency

of a woman who knows she could die,

who knows this communication could be our last.

I slip bouquets into my voice. I weave love songs

into the spaces between words.

I infuse every letter, every comma, with prayers.

Sometimes it makes me cry, not

out of fear, but because the love is so strong.

How humbling to feel it undiluted,

shining, like rocks in the desert after a rain,

to know love as the most important thing,

to remember this as I keep on living.

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            for Donna

Today, for an hour,

I let the only news be

my body, my friend,

and the road we walked on.

Our footsteps kept time

to our chatter. We

spoke of family and fear,

health and uncertainty,

friendship and transformation.

We smiled and worried

and reveled in the day.

The hills were steep,

and we liked it that way.

Later I try to remember this—

how sometimes I choose

a challenging path on purpose.

How all the while

we huffed up the hill,

we were surrounded

by bird song, by laughter.

How speaking of difficult things

makes them less frightening.

How the road was a pleasure

when we walked it together.

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The Big Vase

 

 

 

What is friendship but the ground beneath

the melting snow, the earth that is present

regardless of drift or grass or garden or wasteland.

A friendship is a flower that thrives

whether it is watered or not.

 

It is the flame that cooks the soup and does not ask

to be included on the menu as an ingredient.

And it burns through months, through decades,

burns, long after one might have thought the fuel

would have run out.

 

It would seem like a miracle, the way true friendship

survives, except it’s so commonplace—

the persistent warmth, the inextinguishable glow.

 

And if friends are torn apart—perhaps by years,

perhaps by circumstance—what is friendship then

but an enormous vase with a wide enough mouth

to hold those separate stems over space, over time,

and still call them a bouquet.

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for Kyra

 

February ends with the fragrance of change—

not quite the fresh earthy scent of rain,

but no longer the white sterility of winter.

It’s the damp aroma of long dead grass

and the must of soil as it starts to unfreeze,

the bright tang of Gemini distilled from the sky

and the hint that someday there will be green.

 

This is the perfume I imagine you wearing today

as you move from the darkest hours of fear

into the chapter of healing. Yes, I smell it

as I hug you, the scent of making room for the world,

the scent of resilience, of beauty yet to come.

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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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