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Posts Tagged ‘holding’




Tonight it’s his willowy body I miss,
the way it fit so easily into my arms,
the way he’d find me on the couch
and slip in beside me and loan me
for a time the full weight of his loneliness.
I miss how sometimes we’d say nothing
and let the quiet crests of our breath
be the only thing that need be said.
I miss how sometimes we’d talk for hours,
our thoughts unspooling like ink-dark yarn.
I miss nuzzling my face in his hair.
I miss being with him everywhere—
in the kitchen, in the car, in the yard,
on a plane, in town, on the pond,
in the store, by his desk. But most of all,
tonight, I miss him in my arms,
here in my too empty arms,
this place where so many years I held him,
this place where the memory of his beauty
still leans full weight against my chest.

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This morning I painted
a wooden marker for your grave—
a slender plank to hold the space
until the stone arrives.
I wanted it to be perfect,
but I am not a painter.
I am a mother painting
a wooden marker
for the grave of her son,
but there is devotion
in the uneven blue coat,
devotion in the crooked silver lettering,
devotion in every brush stroke of white.
In the movie of me,
I watched as the lens zoomed in
on my awkward hands
to show their slow and loyal work.
Then the frame widened
to include the quiet rooms in the house,
widened more to comprise the summer field,
then panned and tilted to the sky
to show the gathering rain.
After the fade to gray,
I was still here, sitting at the table,
paint on my dress,
my life not a movie but my life—
every day the chance to live into it.
I flashed back to sitting
at this same table
where you learned to write your letters,
then learned to write your name.
Fast forwarded through thousands
of family dinners.
Flashed to this morning
as I finished the grave marker,
shaping the letters of your name through tears.
Though a camera couldn’t show it,
I forgave myself
for not being a better painter.
I told myself I did the best I could.
It was hours before the rain began to fall.

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If I am to hold the world in my heart,
then let me hold it the way leaves hold sunshine,
trapping the energy not for the sake of holding it,
but to transform it into nourishment.
Though the process isn’t simple, it’s common.
All around the globe, in every season,
leaves hold and synthesize
whatever the day gives them.
On a day when the energy of the world
seems too much to hold,
let me bid my heart turn
like a leaf to the sun
and make sugar.
The way Rilke turned grief into sonnets.
The way Sibelius turned war into song.

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What the Sky Knows

Before the feast,
I slip outside
into the rose glow
of evening and
talk to my loves
who no longer
walk this earth,
and I thank them
for being in my life
and I cry and cry.  
How is it possible
at the same time
to hold so much grief
and so much gratitude?
And the sky holds me
and the rooftops, the
streets and the fields,
the factories and forests,
it holds it all, holds
what is most beautiful,
holds what is most foul.
It doesn’t try to change
anything. Like that,
it seems to say
as it turns a deeper
rose. Like that.

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While I Could

We arrive empty handed, and leave empty handed. So then, how do we want to spend the time in between?
            —Nimo, Empty Hands Music


For a time, I held
him. Before he
could walk, before
he could stand,
before he could
speak, I held
his full weight
in my hands.
Day became night
became day became
night became day
and I held him
and rocked him
and soothed him
and bathed him
and cradled
his beautiful face.
It didn’t last.
It never lasts.
But before he could run,
before he could
fall, before
he could choose
what I never
would have chosen for him,
I held him.
Oh, this gift,
to know the heft
of his life, to have been
the one—though
never again—
to have been the one
for a time, sweet time,
to hold him.

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Down by the river we sit and talk.

When I think I can’t ache any more,

the world serves more heartache.

And I meet it.

I say no, but I feel myself stretched

by some great invisible hand,

rendering me spacious enough to hold

what must be held.

When we rise to leave,

the river doesn’t stop.

Nor does the forgiving wind.

I swear I feel them move

right through me.

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Tonight I Want to Hold You

the way the hand holds the mug,

the way the mug holds the tea,

the way the tea holds the leaves,

the way the leaves hold the sun,

the way the sun holds everything

the way everything eventually

lets go.

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Holding Patterns

 

 

 

It’s not patience

that makes the cup

hold the tea, it’s

simple practicality.

Not love that makes

bowl hold ripened fruit.

But it is patience

that holds the phone

and says I miss you.

It’s love that doesn’t

hold at all.

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Three Transpositions

 

 

 

 

is it one small child

or the whole world

I cradle

 

*

 

this longing

to bring you a small bouquet

of possibilities

 

*

 

my limbs a clef,

I circle the changing

song of you

 

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