Posts Tagged ‘heartache’




goldfinch stealing

into the thorn bush—

oh heart, bless you

for being willing, please

don’t follow him in

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After a Difficult Day

Because my heart is aching,

I clean the stove. It’s covered

in dark brown stains, stains

so burned on they seem

to be part of the stainless steel.

Because I am practical, I wear

plastic gloves while I scour.

I know that the cleaner

would ripple my fingers and dry

my skin for days. And because

I would rather not cry right now,

I turn on my music and play

Joni Mitchell as loud as the speakers

will play. She always knows

just what to say. There are some

places now where the stovetop gleams

so silver it looks nearly new. There

are some stains I know, that no matter

how many hours I scrub,

they will never leave.

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The heart breaks and breaks and lives by breaking.
Stanley Kunitz, “Testing Tree”

Like any other muscle,
the heart, when injured,
will clench, and will stay that way

for a long, long time, most likely
long past the time of usefulness.
But when it relaxes again,

perhaps because it has been touched
in just the right way, or perhaps
just because it is exhausted

with its own clenching, well then
it is like when the sun hits the forest
in late morning and releases the scent

of pine and greening leaves.
And it is like when you walk past a spring
and a dozen blue butterflies all brush

you with their wings, a feeling so impossibly
soft and tender that you cannot help
but let the heart stay open, though you know

it will be wounded again. It is not
in the end the heart itself that matters.
It is the practice of releasing again, again.

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It is not so much
what you do to heal, she said,
but that you stop doing
the things that hurt.

The PT speaks of
my hamstring, but I
think about my aching friend,
and wonder if the heart

responds like any other muscle.
Perhaps if we could
stop from doing what
we know makes the pain

increase, like reaching
toward impossible things,
it would be easier to heal.
We are, perhaps,

slow learners. We
are, perhaps, like the children
who say of a scrape, It only hurts
when I touch it, and then

touch it all day to be sure
it still hurts.
The PT goes on to say
she does not mean

I should do nothing.
You can find other things
that don’t hurt to do.
She calls it active rest.

There are many things
a woman can do without
using her left hamstring.
Read. Laugh. Knit. Sing.

Stand on her right leg.
Kiss. Still the longing
to do what hurts—to run—
as if it’s the only thing.

Just as my friend with the pull in her heart
wants to reach and reach again, as if
it might hurt less, not more,
if she keeps practicing.

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