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Posts Tagged ‘healing’

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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I went in
expecting a miracle.

I wanted to be healed
when I walked out the door.

Instead, the doctor
told me there was nothing

he could do. Told me
the problem. Told me

the solution. Long and
painful. And then

he said he could help me.
I left feeling hopeless.

Frustrated. Spent. And still
in so much pain.

I went in expecting a miracle.
I think that’s what

he gave you,
my friend later said.

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“It is so sweet,” the song says,
“to jest with songs and with hearts
and with serious combat.”
I do not know the poet,
Emanuel Geibel, nor have I played
Schumann’s Der Hidalgo, Opus 30 No. 3.
But this is what I turn to, Evie,
when I hear you are in Room 879.
I found the text first. “I am always ready
for love or for a fight.” Of course
I would think of you then, you who are
both lover and fighter,
fiercely, equally at the same time.

If I could, I would sit beside
the hospital bed and hum lieder,
hum so I would not mispronounce
the German. Better yet, I would bring
your electric piano to your room
and plunk at the keys in my awkward way
so you could hum along. As the Hidalgo says,
“I sing outside many a grilled window,
and I mock many a knight with an insolent song.”

Surely the pain is a knight worth mocking.
Surely we could conjure up ample insolence
even as we praise the graying winter sky
beyond the window glass, praise the birds
winging past the frame that neither of us
(but your husband) could name, praise
the music of heartache and blossom and loss,
and praise and curse the passions that lead you
to the roads you love.

“Tomorrrow,” says the song, “I shall carry home
flowers or wounds.” I would always wish
for you flowers. Acres and acres of daffodils.
Red buds at the end of your drive. Magnolias
throwing their blossoms into your yard.
But here, the wounds. You have known them before,
and still off you go, as Geibel writes, “off, then,
to adventure!” To adventure, Evie,
to adventure! Oh damn. To adventure! The wounds.
To adventure! Your pelvis. Your clavicle. Your ribs.

One morning, while I was still in sleep,
you came to wake me, humming, and cupping
in your hands a dark and bitter delicious brew.
How I would love to come to you now
with something dark and delicious, something
I knew could make you smile, something
satisfying to warm you, rouse you, though we both
know how bitter it is.

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After the Slam

It hurts worst
in the first few hours,
when the purple
leaps up in the moon
of the nail,
and it pulses, throbs,
how the thumb’s pulp
strains against
the skin’s chapel,
and the wrinkles
erase themselves
as the knuckle swells.
Tell yourself
at least it was
only your thumb.
Tell yourself
it was no one’s fault.
Tell yourself
it is not at all
like the heart.
It will heal.
The hurt
will be gone.

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these scars on my arm?
I used to walk my hell with me
everywhere on a leash
and let it bite me sometimes
just to be sure it still hurt

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