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Posts Tagged ‘healing’

 

 

 

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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Doctors, said the professor

to the room of fresh pre-meds,

know this:

Eighty percent of the people

you treat will get better

even if you do nothing.

Ten percent will heal because

of what you do. And ten percent

will get worse because of what you do.

Let’s begin.

Tonight, as my daughter’s skin

blooms increasingly red—

a rash staining her trunk,

her face, her limbs—I consider

what the professor said.

She is long past the age

where I can heal things

with a kiss. Still, I kiss her,

knowing this to be the best medicine

eighty percent of the time.

I give her a dose of jokes,

and prescribe another chapter

of The Silver Chair. We read

as the red grows angrier.

She laughs when I tell her

at least she didn’t break her arm

or lose all of her hair.

I hate how helpless I feel.

Though I did not enter

the rooms of dissection

nor memorize tomes

of bones and diseases and cures,

I still have the longing

to heal, to remove the pain, to nurse.

If she is afraid, she does not show it.

I disguise my fear. I give her

another kiss. It won’t, at least,

make anything worse.

*with thanks to Dr. John Belka for the story that opens this poem.

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In the Midst of the Wreckage

Make in my heart a concert hall

where a single violin

plays on the vacant stage

reminding me in a minor key,

that one true song

touches every broken,

twisted, rotted thing

invites us to lean deeper into,

no, to fall completely

into the beauty

we stopped believing in.

Let me not just hear the song,

let me tear down the heart’s walls

so everyone can hear.

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You never really recover.

That’s what the woman told me

her friend had said.

We were talking about

eating disorders.

There’s no way to make

that line sound poetic.

Her friend ran a program

at a hospital for other women

with eating disorders.

Her friend knew the subject personally.

I remember, I told the woman,

when I believed the same thing.

Until one day, it happened.

I just didn’t know

it was possible because

for so many, many years

it hadn’t happened to me,

though I tried, I tried.

Whenever it happened,

there were no fireworks,

no symphonies, no ecstatic dance,

no revelations written in clouds.

No rhapsody, no reveille, no

parade, no streams of light.

It happened so quietly I didn’t notice—

not for days, weeks, perhaps months.

Now I lean in when I hear myself say never.

What a fine time to get very curious.

What a fine time to get very quiet,

even quieter than that.

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Nothing grows here in the courtyard, not anymore.

Once there were roses in every bed,

impossibly always in full, unguarded flower.

Once there was always perfume, always opening.

It is not hard to remember the peonies, the parsley,

the surprising upstarts of basil, the hanging baskets

with long sweeping tendrils of bloom.

Once there were minstrels who never stopped singing.

The air always wore a silken song.

And now it is gone.

I do not know why I have come here again,

I who once planted these gardens, I who once

played the lute. I thought I had left them for good.

I’m surprised there are not even weeds here. Nothing

in the cracks of the sandstone steps.

Nothing in the empty beds.

It was not exactly a wrong turn

that brought me here, more of a wandering.

It was not really curiosity, more coincidence.

But isn’t it strange? Not even bindweed? Not lamb’s quarters?

Not even a blade of cheat grass?

The fountain in the center has not crumbled,

though no water flows in it. All the bricks

in the archways are still intact.

There is a gate. It always used to be locked,

but now it swings open at the slightest push.

It is innocent. I was the one who had locked it.

I knew what it was for.

If I’d known I were coming, would I have brought

some kind of offering? A poem, perhaps, or

tea leaves? Some flowers to scatter? Some seeds?

My hands flutter empty. They are unembarrassed

by their lack. There are no sacrifices to be made.

Once there were birds making play out of sky.

There is no sadness in remembering this.

I walk the paths. The way is still worn.

My feet know where to go. There is nothing

to bring back, nothing hidden in the walls.

Perhaps this is what I came for.

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Right Here Over the Rainbow

Almost every heart
we know
is wounded—

all the more reason
to learn the language the sun speaks
when it touches the meadow in spring,

and then speak
like that
to each other.

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