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Posts Tagged ‘healing’

 

 

Things are gonna get brighter.

            —”Ooh Child,” The Five Stairsteps

 

 

In the photo, the girl is smiling.

I know all she is hiding.

 

If I could talk to her now,

I wouldn’t tell her much.

 

Wouldn’t warn her about

which boys will break her heart.

 

Wouldn’t tell her which jobs to avoid,

which years will last decades,

 

which friends will lie, which

day she should pay close attention.

 

But I would tell her that Nina Simone

was right when she covered The Five Stairsteps.

 

That things will be brighter.

The young me wouldn’t believe it, of course.

 

Because the healing hasn’t happened yet,

she has stopped believing it’s possible.

 

I might could slip that song into her

cassette mix. Even if she didn’t believe the lyrics,

 

she’d sing along. That’s the way she is.

And the words would land

 

in the branches of her heart

like the truest lyrics do. And build a nest there.

 

And when she lost her voice,

and when it got dark,

 

they would sing to her about the brightening.

Yeah, they would sing. They would sing.

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The Berry Bush

 

 

I knew that they were poisonous, the berries.

Still, I used them to make soup. They were

the most beautiful shades of yellow, green

and orange, and they popped when you squeezed them

and spilled their sticky juice, their tiny seeds.

I’d stir them into puddle water with handfuls

of ripped green grass, small stones, broken sticks.

Then I’d stir. Stir and chant into the old silver pot,

chant words I imagined had been sung long before.

It was a soup, I knew, that could heal.

A magical soup that could nourish the world

just in the making of it.

 

Years later I consider what I knew then—

how belief is the most important ingredient.

How all healing begins with a bit of poison.

 

 

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all day, the candle’s light

almost invisible, all day

I think of the girl

in the hospital, all day

to the light that is, adding more light

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Eventually

 

with thanks to JT

 

 

Start in the dirt,

said the photographer,

then elevate from there.

And though I was thinking

of poems, and though

he was speaking of images,

I immediately leapt to healing.

 

Just today I heard of a girl

who, on Christmas morning,

learned her stomach ache was cancer.

I called her mother

to console her, though

I was the one near tears.

 

Start in the dirt.

Ammons, my hero, once

looked to the dirt

in search of something

lowly, but all he could find

was magnificence. Within

a stanza, he launched

from ticks to galaxies.

 

Sometimes in the dirt

all I see is dirt.

 

I held back the tears until

after we hung up the phone,

then wept. I wanted to find

some shred of magnificence

in her story, but it is, perhaps,

too soon. No magnificence. I suppose

that’s the invitation to stay in the dirt,

stay there until I know, really know,

there is nothing lowly. Not

the lichen. Not the slug. Not the ant.

Not mutating cells.

 

Hafiz, my hero, once wrote

that everything, everything

is holy. Sometimes I want

to argue with him.

 

Start in the dirt. Yes.

Perhaps I will be here a while.

I have some practicing to do.

It may be some time

before I elevate.

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Wish

 

for my father

 

 

And when at last

the healing comes,

may it come like the rain

after a long drought,

so soft that at first

you aren’t sure

it is raining,

but the fragrance

overcomes you,

green and wet,

and the world

looks dewy and

you feel it in your lungs.

Yes, may the healing

arrive on the edge

of perception

and then feel

wholly present,

as today when the rain turned

long and steady,

the kind that slowly

saturates and changes everything

so quietly that

you almost don’t remember

what it was like before

and everywhere you look,

all you see is promise.

 

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the only thing

that matters

is the wound—

from a dark nest

comes gold

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with thanks to Artful for the fabulous starts

 

 

Last year’s potatoes—

small red fists

with stubby white shoots—

they have something

to teach the heart about

unclenching,

about how to find something of value

in their own darkness

something that knows how to reach

toward the light,

something that when faced

with darkness again

will reach even farther

until they become

astonishingly prolific, alive.

 

 

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her daughter has a tumor behind her knee.

Already it’s grown into the bone.

 

Very aggressive, the doctor says,

and though he names the diagnosis,

 

he tells my friend not to Google it.

Sometimes what we know

 

creates more footholds for fear. There’ll be surgery,

the doctor says, and chemo.

 

I want to give her a brush tonight, nothing special,

one she could pull through her own long hair

 

and then through her daughter’s dark curls, as well.

How commonplace to brush and comb,

 

to unsnarl the tangles and make one’s hair

smooth again. I want to give her the terrible gift

 

of the habitual life—the tedious days in which we

brush and wash and dress and sleep and work

 

and laugh and shit and yell and fuss and forget

how fragile we are, forget how temporary

 

these bodies can be, forget how bloody lucky

we are every minute to be alive.

 

 

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One Eventually

 

 

those thorns in my pocket

surprised to find I have rubbed them

dull, smooth

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still this longing

to bring a golden cup

and hold it

to your sweet

parched lips

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