Posts Tagged ‘future’

I think of a year ago
and all I did not know.
I do not hold my innocence
against myself.
If there is a future me,
I toast her tonight.
May she look back at me
as I light this white candle
and whisper love into the flame.
May her thoughts be generous
as she remembers
how it is to live
with this heart,
both ruined
and burnished by loss.
As I toe the edge of the year,
the edge of the moment,
I imagine her waiting
on the other side, saying,
Jump, sweetheart, jump,
I’ve got you.
Or perhaps she says
nothing at all,
but stands there as I do now
looking back,
arms impossibly open.

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Perhaps someone in the future
is writing love letters to me
the way I have done for Chopin,
van Gogh, Neruda, Akhmatova.
Are we, the living, already ancestors?
Could these waves of love
have been sent back in time
to arrive today while I am walking
in the department store
and begin to weep
near the kitchen implements?
I feel it, this invisible current of love,
buoyant as salt water,
as it carries me through the aisles.
I begin to believe it, the continuum,
the mirrored stream,
begin to believe the waves
of love travel not through time
but are directly transmitted
from heart to heart
to timeless heart,
to receptive present heart.


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The Path

And again, I did not visit the psychic
on Columbus Avenue.
Again, I did not sit with her
in her high-back chairs,
plush with bright red upholstery
and shining gold filigree.
Did not offer her my palm.
Did not choose cards from her deck.
Did not listen to her soothing tones.
Not that I don’t have questions.
Not that I don’t believe in her.
Not that I don’t want to sit
in those extravagant chairs
and take a small break,
to rest these tired feet.
It was the path itself
that seemed to say
it did not wish to be seen
more clearly.
So I stopped and stared longingly
through the wide store window,
took in the warm bright room,
then continued to walk the path.
The path is a metaphor, but no less real
than the window, the glorious chair.
I was not clear where I was going.
I kissed the morning air.
The path, I swear, it smiled.

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Please don’t tell me what will happen.
I’ve peeked before at the end of a book
and know how one detail learned too soon
can ruin the entire story.
Not that I wish to be patient.
Of course, I want to know what’s coming,
but this story only works in present tense.
Even when it makes me weep,
even when I’d rather put this story down,
even when I’d like to rewrite the last scene,
please, don’t give me even a little hint.
I am not sure I believe in happy endings,
but I believe in turning the page,
in holding the weight of the book in my hands,
and racing through the text,
my eyes eager to discover what comes next.

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after three wheels

have launched from the cliff’s edge

stepping on the brakes

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Here is the future,

a line to be crossed.


Someone has tied it

into a noose

with a loop wide enough

it will fit over all of our heads.


Sometimes at night

do you feel its heat

against your neck,

a burning you can’t explain?


Tell yourself the only

difference between a noose

and a lifeline is the way

you tie the knot.


Here, here are your hands,

persistent and willing,

able to loosen, refashion,

forgive. And here is tomorrow,


a line with your name

written on it.


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In a book that has not yet been written
the pages are already turning to dust
and a reader is pressing the petals of roses
from a lover she’s yet to meet and love,
and the lover is off in a forest somewhere
where the trees are all still seeds in the ground—
he is singing a song that’s not yet been composed
while he rides on a horse that hasn’t been foaled
and by now the reader is not the same woman
she was when she first began to read
the book and already her skin has been pricked
by the thorns of the rose she’s yet to receive,
and she’s singing the song he never sang,
she sings as if she knows the tune
from long ago, now how did that
old lyric go? She hums where she
forgets the words, something about
a man, a horse, a drop of blood,
a peace that has never and always been,
a woman who thinks she’s lost something,
but can’t remember what.

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Trail of the Ancients


Of course I imagine my own ruins
as I wander through the remains
of the towers built by the Ancestral Puebloans
at the edge of a high desert canyon.
Someday about seven hundred years
from now a woman with her two children
and her husband could be walking past
what is left of the river rock chimney
that stands at the center of my house.
She might run her fingers over the stones,
wondering, as I am now, why the people
left this place. And were they happy here?
And what songs did they sing? Her children
are probably tugging at her arms, begging
her to go. Please, they will say, this is so boring.
And she will agree to leave, but she will take her time,
her eye landing on a shard—it’s from one of my green
dinner plates. She picks it up, a real find.
She wonders what kind of food I ate.
And what kept me awake at night.
And if my children were easier. She drops
the green shard in her pocket and rubs
the sharp edge against her thumb.
There is never enough time, she thinks,
as she turns from the chimney toward
the voices somewhere further down the trail.

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Predictability: Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?
—Edward Lorenz, title of a paper presented at the 139th Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (29 Dec 1979), in Essence of Chaos (1995)

Let’s say the rainbow
lands in a field. The woman
watching it knows her treasure
is elsewhere. Still, she takes it
as a sign. Sure, there are other signs.
The beetle in the screen door. Two
white feathers. A cloud in the shape
of a shoe. Everything means
what she wants it to. She remembers
the words of Edward Lorenz: how the present
determines the future, but
the approximate present does not
approximately determine the future.
In the field, there are no butterflies
present, at least none that she can see.
Sensitivity to initial conditions,
she whispers under her breath,
wondering if just that tiny puff
of memory is enough to create
the next storm. There are rainbows
everywhere, she says to herself.
Where will the next one land?

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