Posts Tagged ‘intimacy’

            with a nod to Basho
my teenage girl
slips her hand into mine—
from the hand, I learn about hands

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The Sublime

In the middle of the night
in a tiny well-lit kitchen
in the middle of a city
known for violence,
my father spent hours
combing my hair
looking for nits,
meticulously pulling through
the toxic shampoo.
The hours passed
with tenderness.
I was grateful then,
but could not know
how sweetly I would come to recall
his patient hands, his quiet devotion,
his exhaustion, my exhaustion,
could not know how
years later I would treasure
those dark hours
when the sirens
blared through the window glass
and hour after hour
came to pass.

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Driving over Dallas Divide
I thought how not all streams
are destined to come together—
at least not for a long, long time.
Imagine, two snowflakes landed
side by side atop the Divide. Come spring,
one might flow west to the San Miguel,
the other east to the Uncompaghre.
It would be over a hundred miles
of flowing through beaver dams
and irrigation ditches, rapids
and eddies, before the waters
could meet again.
And so it is tonight, I feel a rush
of gratefulness that however
it happened, you and I have somehow
managed to be moving right now through
these landscapes of change together.
Think of all of the paths
that could have pulled us apart.
And yet here we are, you and I,
moving across and around obstacles,
you and I traveling together
through everything the world
has thrown at us, you and I.
diverging and coming back together,
two bodies, many possible paths
one water.

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Once I crossed a hanging bridge.

where the planks were missing,

I could see muddy water roiling below—

and the planks that were present

were rotten. That’s the nature

of bridges. Eventually, they fall apart.

Like this one between you and me.

And the nature of love? To rebuild.

And when that fails, because

even the best tools don’t work well

in unskilled hands, that’s the time

to know when to quit trying to fix,

to jump in the swells and swim.

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A piano is just

some wood and strings

until it’s touched—

and then it sings.

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Once Upon

Only a moment, I thought,
just a moment of pulling your breath

into mine would buoy me
through whole oceans of days,

days I would otherwise drown in
save for a single shared moment.

But here I am, beneath the surface,
near out of air, gasping, longing for

hours, no, days, no, whole epochs of closeness
with no sense of starting or ending.

How soon a woman wants more.
I try to fill my pockets with things

that float—the clean scent of spring
and the song of whatever bird that is

outside the window. I try to find
my own lightness I have found before.

I tell myself, this is only a story,
as I sink further down, as the blue deepens.

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What Doesn’t Change

The wind
transfers sand
and the breeze
snatches kites
and the squalls
displace leaves
and the gusts
topple signs,
and forever
yes, even
after I’m dust,
your breath
into mine.

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One Beat

it off.
The hat.
The jeans.
The shoes.
The shirt.
The missing
Take off
the watch.
Let down
the hair.
the public
the eyes.
Let slip
the beaded
of shoulds,
the tired
of worry.
of shame
that still
thin gloss
of why,
lose them.
now my
love, please
touch me
we put
it all

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In less than a minute
the citadel
around the heart
is reduced to sand,
not by the wrecking ball,
not dynamite,
but with the softest voice
speaking the painful truth
of how sad, how broken we are.
In that unlocked moment,
even the air is naked.
It is impossible to imagine
that anything ever came between us,
or that anything ever will again.
But it does come back,
doesn’t it, that thick gray wall.
Sometimes thicker
or taller than before.
Birds come to roost there.
Ivy grows up the face.
Who knows who scrawls
all that graffiti on both sides.
And then, in an instant,
it’s gone again. Nothing but dust.
With the softest voice.
The painful gift. It’s
so messy, so beautiful,
how broken we are.

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In the middle of the night
mom finds me still awake
and makes us tea. We stand

in her bright kitchen and cradle
our steaming cups. How
the hands like something to do,

even at this quiet hour.
We talk through the scent
of licorice root and chamomile,

we talk with no phones or children,
chores or appointments to interrupt.
She is older than I think she is.

When I’m not with her, I see her
as the mother of my childhood,
her hair not yet gray, her spine

not yet bent. She is lovelier
than I think she is. I don’t
think of my mother as beautiful,

only as my mom. But here,
in this wrinkle of early hours,
she radiates, even as her chin

begins to quiver, even as she bites
her lower lip to stay the tears,
even as her tears miss the steeping tea,

she is radiant. Even as she collapses
her shoulders and laments little things
she can no longer do, she glows,

and I see her not only as my mother,
more fragile than I like to think,
but as someone so full of light, someone

I so very much want to know.

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