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Posts Tagged ‘friendship’

 

 

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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Luck

 

 

 

It’s like just happening

to find in the drawer

the tiny screw that fits

in my glasses so the lens

won’t fall out, yes,

the fact that any of us

find each other and

happen to fit

into each other’s lives

at all seems shocking

when the drawer’s so big,

and after the discovery

so beautiful, so strange

how we never again

see the world

quite the same.

 

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for Art

 

sparring with an old friend,

each round, loving

him more deeply

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Which, they say, is impossible,

but we all know the impossible

happens. If you dreamed

that you died, then I would

slip myself into your dream,

which is also impossible,

but now we’re on a roll

of impossibilities. So while

we’re at it, let’s say that while

I am in your dream, I slip

out of the dream and into

your room, which is really,

really impossible, but

wouldn’t that be cool,

to travel through dreams

into each other’s lives?

And then, once in your room,

I would watch you sleeping

and if you tossed and whimpered,

distressed by your death,

I’d lay my hand on your head

and I’d say, shhh, it’s alright,

You’re safe. I’m here.

And you would settle deeper

into your pillow, and I would

watch over your sleep and hum

a little song about home,

and the moon would hold us,

because this is a poem

in which impossible things happen,

and its long silver arms would

be warm and tender and soft,

and I wouldn’t wake you

in case it means I have to leave

the dream and find myself

unable to tell you you’re safe,

I’m here. I’m here.

 

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I watched it happen, the confrontation.

The one who was hurt and the one

with no inkling that harm had been done,

and my heart ached for both of them—

for all of us really—all of us fragile, all of us

witless, all of us longing to love, to be loved

for being ourselves.

 

Outside the window, the leaves

were brilliantly dying, burning auburn,

vermillion, a heart swelling show

of what it is we’ve come here to do—

to give our all and give some more,

to do it unreservedly.

 

It’s all a series of repetition, design—

the leaves, the fall, the hurt, the blame,

the confusion, the reconciliation.

It’s all a matter of pattern and letting

go, letting go of whatever we think we know

about how to give.

 

What I’m trying to say is if I have hurt you,

I’m sorry. I don’t understand my own thorns.

I think I am singing and it comes out crooked.

I think I’m supporting and it comes out cage.

There are so many mistakes in my blood,

all of them believing they’re butterflies.

 

My friend tells me the leaves in fall

are returning to their true colors—

how the necessary chlorophyll disguises

what’s really inside.

 

What I’m trying to say is look at the leaves

outside the window, see how vibrant they are?

I am trying to love like that,

every day, the colors more true.

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