Posts Tagged ‘friendship’




Everyone you invite into your life,

ask them to invite

a friend—

then build in your heart

a room big enough to hold them all,

a kitchen large enough to feed them all,

and a host of intimate spaces

to meet them.

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for Jack and Julie


Though I am running on a dirt road in Colorado

my mind is in Michigan near a small pond

where dozens of stoic frogs rest around a stone Buddha.


The Buddha, I suppose, would disapprove

and tell me to let my thoughts be where I am,

but there is joy in letting them run free


and noticing where they choose to go.

They move from the pond up the steps and into a house,

then stroll into rooms where books


are piled in every corner and a new puppy

begs to be loved. We all want to be loved,

don’t we, which is perhaps why my thoughts


continue to run to this warm kitchen where

the tea pot is always ready with hot water

and there is a half-complete drawing


waiting on the table. Home of music,

home where poetry comes for pizza,

home where love is abundant as frogs


still resting there beside the Buddha.

Odd comfort in knowing that they are still there,

those frogs, even when I am not. Odd comfort


in finding the mind knows how to return,

though it’s over a thousand miles from here—

like one of those stories about the dogs


who, against all odds, return to their owners

though they’ve been dropped off many states away.

And why not return to the voices and stories


of people we love—why not trust our internal maps

to bring us closer? Why not bring them with us

on the long dirt road where the sky is darkening


and the mile markers blur into uncertain futures?

There is so little we can trust—but this detour

feels honest, real as the smile of the Buddha


as the frogs leap all around, real as the scent

of paprika and cheese, real as the laughter in the kitchen

so humble and alive the whole world  leans in.















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After many, many hours in the car,

through spring blizzards and shine,

over passes and through tunnels,

we have conversed about loneliness

and loss, isolation and struggle,

we’ve found laughter inside

awkwardnesses and cried

for reasons we don’t understand

and we have solved nothing

of the world’s problems, nor our own,

but in this last hour, a lovely

silence joins us in the car,

all those unanswered questions

somehow content to look out the window

and admire with us the white rumps of elk

and the mountains newly covered

with snow, so much already

growing beneath the white.


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making of myself a nest to hold your fear, I grow wings I didn’t know were here

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Morning Baptism




beside the river,

cold and low

we speak

until our words

run clear—

then jump

into the current’s swell

and laugh


through tears

as we are



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Something in me rails against the word inevitable,

wants to root for underdogs and impossibilities.


But everything and everyone lets us down sometime,

and we meet the inevitability we would rather not know.


Last week, it was the potatoes. When we went

to harvest them, we found them abundant


in the sandy earth, but with their red skins pocked

with black scabs. That’s where the sorrow comes in.


Later I learn Black Scab is the common name

for the pathogen. There’s something almost comforting


in calling things as they are. I learn

that when peeling the potatoes, if I peel deep enough,


eventually the dark spots disappear.

And the potatoes taste delicious, somehow


more potato than the potatoes in the store.

The sorrow was just a surface thing, not like


the letter I received today outlining the betrayals

of a friend. How I longed for it to be a surface thing then—


something I could peel and find the core still good,

still full of nourishment, still unmarred.


How impossible it felt to call things as they are.

I longed for the potatoes to be like auguries,


omens that everything would be okay,

I wanted them to be portents that when we dig


there is treasure to be found, though

it may not look anything like we thought.


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Dear Rachel




It’s so curious what we choose to frame.

You could, I am sure, with your art degree, explain

to me how aesthetics change. And why.

But I have too much dirt and dust in my home

to want an image of dirt and dust on my wall.

And I don’t relate to women in gowns

parting floral drifts with a white parasol.


I remember the first time I went to your home

and saw in your hall a painting—just one color, red,

you had painted it yourself—and I recall

how easy I found it to stare and stare and get lost

inside. So much of the world is black and white.


On my walls, it’s mostly nudes.

It never seemed strange until my children

asked why there were so many naked women

in our home. I didn’t know what to say

to make it okay. I said, “Because they are beautiful.”


If I could, I would frame the laughter

you left on my answering machine

and hang that on my wall. Or frame

how warm the sun was when we went for a walk.

Or frame the taste of peaches, the scent

of wood smoke and poems in our hair, the easy

silence we sometimes share.


But I would frame, too, the mornings

we speak of our children and weep.

And I’d frame our hurt and our fear

and the nights we’ve fallen apart.

So perhaps that’s not so different

from framing dust and dirt. And those

two women strolling in the sun,

on second thought, they look familiar.


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