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Posts Tagged ‘gift’

Surprise Visit




She arrived with a small box of gifts—
two tree-ripened avocados, crispy kale
she’d roasted with spicy tahin,
a bar of dark chocolate laced with salt,
and a paperback book of koans.
I received them all with raw gratitude,
knowing what was really in that box
was devotion, compassion, integrity, hope.

But it was her arms that saved me
that day, her arms and the quiet song
of her breath, the way she held me
until I felt known—the way a shore
holds a lake, the way empty branches
hold sky, the way love holds us all.

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for Paul Fericano and so many others


I turn first to the chapter
on techniques for broken wings.
I learn of contour splints and anchor tape
and reasons why most broken wings
should not be completely immobilized.

I am not so unlike an injured bird.
Struck down by grief, I too, am unable to fly.
Even walking, I find I’m off balance.
I’m best treated without an audience.
I heal best with absolute calm.

I was unsure at first why my friend
would have sent me—along with tea,
chocolate, crackers and sweet biscuits—
a book on “kitchen healing:”
how to treat injured wildlife at home.

But there beneath the image
of a simple wing break, I read,
a sentence like a prophecy:
“Nature starts the healing process
almost as soon as the injury occurs.”

And I feel, to my surprise,
the tender places where the bones
of my wings no longer protrude.
And though my joints are rigid,
with supports, I’m recovering.

And I am thankful for all the hands of friends—
unskilled, untrained, yet willing to try.
Hands that send letters and blankets
and feathers and books. Calm hands
that help heal these fractures until I can fly.


*Quote from Care of the Wild Feathered & Furred: A Guide to Wildlife Handling & Care by Mae Hickman and Maxine Guy (Unity Press, 1973)

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On the day
I most needed
to remember
how to pray,
a prayer shawl
arrived in the mail.
I wrapped myself in it
and felt in the trinity stitch
the singing of my name,
felt the colors tether me
to my own heart.
Sometimes when we
feel most alone,
the world conspires
through the goodness
of others to remind us
who we are,
remind us that now
is the right moment
to wrap ourselves
in the kind of beauty
no fear can extinguish,
now is the right moment
to feel how,
though we are alone,
love floats
around our shoulders
soft and so warm.


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Gift

            I’m sure there’s a blossom in there somewhere

And if all I can give you is silence,

then let it be the most beautiful silence,

a silence perfumed with mint and sage,

a silence that brings a quiet shine

to everything it touches.

Let it be the kind of silence

that opens into a deeper silence,

the kind that knows golden petals and sunshine

and the scent of rain unfolding in the meadow—

a silence that holds you so lightly,

the way candlelight might hold you

inside the dark. May it find you

in the morning, be waiting for you

before you rise. May you find it behind

and between every word you say,

the way sky supports the dark cursive

of starlings. And may you hear it, really hear it,

the deep silence. Like your favorite

song playing over and over again.

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no ribbons, no bows,

no fancy wrapping, no box—

you, the very gift

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Into Your Stocking

 

 

 

I slipped some magic markers

for coloring the world—

the leaves, the river, the moon.

You can write messages

in the sky and the wind

will blow them where

they need to go.

You can color thoughts—

give them stripes or polka dots.

You can change the hue

of a mood with a few broad strokes.

There’s one that will make you

invisible. Some markers I

don’t know what they do.

One is the color of laughter.

Another the color of forgiveness.

Don’t be surprised if other people

can’t see them. Don’t be

surprised when they graffiti

the walls around your heart.

Don’t be surprised when

you start to think in color—

when you start to believe

every idea, every word,

every dream can change

the shade of the world.

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In the box from eBay,

a green crystal elephant

and not one clue

as to who might have sent it.

 

There are days

when I am amazed

by the goodness of people,

how we are marked by generosity

 

There are days

when I whisper thank you,

though I don’t know to whom,

and I revel in the mystery.

 

 

 

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wishing I could wrap

devotion, wishing you

could open it

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I want to give you words,

as if they might do what

the body can’t do—

 

as if with verb I could

meet the place in you

that most wants to be touched,

 

as if with noun I could

know the parts of you

that most want to be known.

 

I want to give you

the most faithful adjective,

the one that cradles you

 

before you even realize

that you need to be held—

once I heard a song

 

written by a man

for another man, a song

that swelled, then took

 

two steps back,

then swelled again, then

took two steps back

 

before finally rising

to an unsteady ledge

and my heart

 

beat outside of my body

and my eyes wept

with tears that were mine and not mine,

 

and I want to give you words

that will find every ache in you

that longs to be soothed,

 

words that will seek out

each lonely place, that will find

every branch of you—

 

not like a wind

that is here and gone, no, more like

the bark that gives everything

 

to protect you,

the bark that grows as you grow

and takes its shape from you.

 

 

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for Tomàs

 

The candle is not there to illuminate itself. 

            —Jan-Fishan Khan

 

 

It will only take five minutes, he said,

and so, though I’d not spoken with him before

and though I was about to teach a class,

I followed him outside the library door

to the dirt lot where his truck was parked

and from the open pick up bed

he pulled with flourish a rolled-up rug

and spread it between the rabbit brush

and milk thistle, then hoisted

two flat wooden seats he’d fashioned

out of pine, arranged them on the rug,

and swung a bench-like table from the bed

and placed it in the center.

And I expected, what, well, not

what happened next. It’s your canoe,

he said, and from his truck he plucked

a long and knobby stick. And here’s your oar,

he offered, with a slight bow of his head.

I took it up and kicked my shoes off, stepped

onto the rug, then leapt up to table top

and began to paddle the air.

Where are we going then, I said,

my eyes on the horizon.

To Java, he said, and I paddled harder,

eager to reach its shores. I’ve always

wanted to go to Java, I said, pulling

through currents of air. And look, he said,

there’s a farmer there on the banks

saying his morning prayers.

And he pulled from the truck a large

straw hat that he set upon his head

and a simple white scarf he let

slip through his fingers in a ritual

of silk. And when my boat came near,

he stepped beside it, met me

with a bowl-shaped bell, and circled

the small canoe, baptizing the air

with its one-note song. I closed my eyes,

and felt the tone open inside me,

and when I let my lids fly up,

he was standing right in front of me

with a vial of dark oil that smelled of vanilla

and evergreen. And he anointed me,

touching the oil to my head with his finger.

I knew I had arrived. I jumped down and hugged

the farmer, then searched the ground

for a smooth white stone to give him in return.

And as I journeyed back to the library,

somehow now only steps away, I took with me

the scent of pine, the smile of the native man,

the joy that comes when all the lines

we thought we knew have been erased,

and our inner map wildly rearranged.

 

 

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