Posts Tagged ‘happiness’


Since you died, every shooting star is you.
Not a sign, exactly, more like a reminder
you came into my life brilliant and brief.
More like a reminder to say your name out loud.
As if I don’t already say your name out loud
at least a dozen times a day.

Tonight while walking in the cold
I saw two shooting stars,
and it reminded me of a warmer night
when you and your sister and I
stretched our bodies side by side
on the cool pavement and stared up at the sky
hoping for meteors.

Did we see any? I don’t recall.
I only remember how happy I was then.
A small bit of that happiness
reaches through the loss.
It takes me by the hand,
walks with me through the dark.

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Tucked in my mind’s back pocket
is that evening when I ran full speed
off the end of the pier

and leapt fully dressed into the water.
The air in my clothes buoyed me for a moment
before swirling around me like a purple bloom—

and the heavy sun was orange and low,
and the water held me, refreshed me,
stole my breath for a moment,

then gave me back the gift of my breath,
only deeper, fuller, a bloom in my body.
Oh the freedom—how easy it felt to be alive,

to be afloat, to be enwombed by the world.
Everything felt right. Everything felt yes.
Sometimes, like now, when worry polishes my thoughts,

I dip a toe into that pocket and feel the splash on my skin,
hear the water lapping against the buoys, the pier.
Sometimes, like now, I jump in and swim there

long enough that when I return to this chair, this room,
I find the faint lake scent lingering in my hair,
my face still wet.

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The day
from wing
to wing,
a bright
and feathered
a path
in wordless
to tag

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One Marvelous Evening

weaving a little sky

into my hair—

swallows dive through my thoughts

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I keep staring at it in the catalog at the Ametist linen/modal dress,

in amethyst, a linen shirt dress the catalog describes

as “wonderfully forgiving.” Well, that sounds good, of course.


And the dress, with its shimmering linen, its turquoise

and aubergine flowers, well, it’s beautiful. And perhaps

because I do not feel beautiful, I stare at it as if


it has a secret I need woven into its threads, as if I could buy it

and then be as happy as the model who is walking

through a sunlit field with a large bouquet of long-stemmed


dusky penstemon in her hand. She looks over her shoulder

as if there is someone or something there that delights her,

as surely everything does when she is wearing


her amethyst Ametist linen/modal dress with its “generous fit.”

Perhaps I would rather not remember that I must

be the one who is generous, I must be the one who


is “wonderfully forgiving.” Easier to imagine slipping into a dress

and letting the fabric do all the work. Harder to remember

that beauty is less about how we look and more about


the way we choose to see. Oh, to buy that dress

so that I might notice how little joy it really brings me.

Is this the way we meet the self? Through disappointment?


I decide to make my own catalog. Of my clothes.

I walk through the kitchen, modeling my yoga pants

and a fuzzy top pretending I am me


walking through the kitchen in my yoga pants and fuzzy top.

It’s not much of a stretch. I smile over my shoulder

at the tea pot, the dishes that need washing, a lunch box.


And why not smile? Perhaps there’s a secret I need

woven into something here—in the stack of mail,

in the charging cord, in the marker, the dish towel—


some chance for delight, something beautiful waiting

if only I choose to see the shimmer.

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I love entering a race with no chance of winning—

so easy to keep a smile on my face, to remember

I am doing this for the love of it, easy to focus

on the color of the sky, the cold scent of snow,

the thrill of the arms as they pump and release.


It’s the same reason I love going to high school plays

or middle school volleyball games or eating potato chips.

There’s a thrill, of course, in the best—but oh, the joy

of wearing a soft sweatshirt on a Saturday, of finding yourself

on the tenth kilometer of fifteen, grateful for five more k.

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I wake up happy, as if the happiness

were already seeded before I woke.

As if all I have to do to love the day

is breathe. So I breathe. And love

meets me right where I am.

There are days we know we are lucky—

lucky just to wake. Perhaps it’s because

we have known dismal days when

just rising felt like strike three.

But today,I rise with happiness as present

as the dark before the dawn—not

because I deserve it, but because

it’s as natural as the milky way

spilled across the sky, as

normal as the night itself

stretched out like a blanket

to warm the sleeping world.

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And who could explain why tonight

a bowling alley opened up inside my heart

and an invisible hand kept sending the ball down


the lane and it was strike after strike after strike.

The gutters, so empty, decided to get up

and play, too, and we all drank a beer


and toasted to the way strange things happen.

Oddly enough, I was chopping carrots and kale

this whole time, and could not help myself


from feeling as if I should celebrate.

Outside, the tips of the mesas

were pink, fleeting, of course, but it left


an indelible stamp on me, and meanwhile,

as the yellow onions made me cry,

the sound of ten pins crashing down


came again and again

and again, and I just

couldn’t shake this feeling


that something wonderful was happening,

the scent of garlic filling the room, the sky

turning gray, turning black.




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Climbing higher

than you thought

you could

to the top

of something

you don’t understand

to leave a sacrifice

of more than

you thought

you could give,

it’s enough

to make you

wildly alive,


even happy.



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January 8, 2018




A hundred years ago today

Mississippi became the first state

to ratify the eighteenth amendment,

the prohibition of alcohol.

And as I sip my sake,

I toast them—

not because I think

they were right,

but because I have a glass

in my hand and the sake

is dry and cool, tastes

of plum and pear,

and I am in the mood

to drink to everyone,

to our health, to our bliss,

to our rights to our own opinions,

and to whatever it is in us

that makes us believe

that we might do something

to make the world

more wonderful,

misguided and lost

though we are.

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