Posts Tagged ‘gravity’

On a wooden plank
only eight inches wide
I stood thirty feet
above the ocean
and stared at the waves below,
stared at the horizon,
stared at my fear of heights,
stared until I felt such deep peace
standing on this slender choice.
All it would have taken
was one step.
One step, and gravity
would have done the rest
to plunge me into the ocean
in the name of fun.
The whole time I stood there,
I thought of you,
how you would have
leapt from that plank
with no hesitation.
I loved this about you—
your abandon,
your joy in launching
into something new.
Gravity, they say,
is the weakest force we know.
Though it can hold galaxies together,
it’s weak enough
to overcome it every day.
Weak though it is,
I’d like to say
I overcame it.
That I stood at the edge
and chose, instead of falling,
to hold things up—
chose to hold up
the memory of you falling,
chose to hold up
my own tired heart,
chose to stand
in a difficult place
and notice how beautiful it was,
the golden light on the water,
the wind on my skin,
chose to walk a narrow path
that felt kind to myself,
though in my head
the voice kept saying
jump, jump, jump.

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I hope we remember forever
this trip to New York—
remember the trees in pink bloom
along the High Line in Chelsea,
remember the tiramisu
at Joe G.’s near Carnegie,
remember the reflecting pool
outside the Lincoln Center,
and how the whole city shined
after rain. And I hope we remember
forever the way the man stole my brown hat
when the wind blew it off my head
and he shouted It’s mine, It’s mine, and ran off,
how unsettling it was to be interviewed
by the newspaper of a cult, and
what a bummer it is to have food poisoning
and try to watch a play.
I hope we remember forever the memorial
where the twin towers once stood—
how beautiful the falling water is
and how grave.
This is the way the world is—
so lost and so precious all at once.
Each time something was tough,
I would say to myself, well, no one died.
But you and I know that sometimes
the one we love dies.
And we can bear it.
Not only can we bear it,
we can thrive. We will find beauty
and gravity everywhere we go
and still, we can love this world,
we can love each other,
still we can love, we can love.

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Gravity Tanka

only after
my own arms
did I feel how I am
so gently being held

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On the counter waits thirty pounds
of apricots, and even after hours

of halving the soft flesh, removing the pits
and arranging them to dry, each apricot feels

like a present, sweet commonplace perfection.
I pass their humble weight from hand to hand

and marvel at their apricotness—recalling
how yesterday they were clustered and strung

on the limbs so thick that the branches hung low to touch
the orchard floor. Oh gravity, what is it you love

about sweetness. Even the lovers who churn
in the grass are drawn into your promise.

But not tonight. Tonight, there are apricots
ripe and gold and glistening in the center.

Tonight there is this art of making
sweetness last just a little bit longer,

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Gravity, I adored you today,
the way you led me from the top of the mountain
to lower down. The clear rush of it all,
the thrill of velocity, the giving in
to forces greater than ourselves
and learning there to play.

What a sweet oxymoron,
the more mass we have, the faster
we go, and with this heart so weighted
I was surely more lickety-split
than ever before, and felt it, too,
the shocking lightness,

the reminder that all of us,
all of us are in it together,
at the mercy of this draw,
this tug, this gravity that brings us
down, down, down, wheeeeeeee down
humbled and even laughing.

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