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Posts Tagged ‘graduation’


            Delivered at the Telluride High School Graduation, June 2, 2023
           
 
I don’t know how to make sense of the story
of how Finn is here, although he is not.
How he lives in the deep soil of memory—
still running with you through the playground
your bodies bright streaks of joy,
cartwheeling across the green valley floor
and tap dancing on this stage,
traveling with you to Mesa Verde and Ecuador
and building computers and graphing equations and writing code,
swinging golf clubs and debating politics
and dressing as a skyscraper in the Halloween parade.
Laughing in the hall and crying in his room.
 
I don’t know how it is we can crumple with grief
and still rise with hope, love, celebration.
And yet we do.
At the same time he is missed,
you, friends, grow more fully into yourselves
each one of you a sapling reaching not only toward light
but also reaching with your roots through the dark,
the necessary dark that anchors us, keeps us rooted in what’s real.
 
I don’t know how it is
we come to know our own lives better
because he took his, but we do.
We learn to trust that despite a great wound,
we can thrive, the way a tree grows around a gash,
trunk still strong, though a scar remains,
leaves still unfurling to gather sun.
 
I don’t know how we speak of sadness and joy
in the same breath, but we do.
Joy in coming together.
Joy in knowing heartbreak invites us
to become more spacious, more kind.
Joy in forging new dreams.
Joy in remembering the world as it was
and at the same time growing so bravely,
so beautifully into the world that is.
 

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for Lara Young, who pulls in all the wounded mamas with love, and for the other mamas, I am so grateful for you


At the edge of the happy throng,
we found each other,
five women who had lost a child.
Of course, we cried,
but damn, how we laughed
as we mobbed the photo booth
and dressed in bright wigs
and pink glasses and mustaches.
One woman was a blue crayon,
another wore a crown,
another held a bottle of red wine
as if to guzzle the whole bottle down.
And as the photographer lifted his lens,
the woman in the gold top hat howled,
When life fucks you up the ass,
and lifted a hand as if to say,
What do you do with that?
And we all knew what she meant.
What do you do with that except
weep when you weep
and laugh when you can
and love all the more
and slip the pink sequin gown over your arms
and smile for the camera
as one of the other moms squeezes your ass
and another one rests her head on your shoulder,
smile because that’s what a naked heart does
when surrounded with love,
smile because there is collateral beauty
you never could have dreamed of,
smile because the memory of these beloved children
is so alive here,
smile because. Because.

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