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Posts Tagged ‘kindness’

Lenity

 

 

 

 

 

First it was the woman

who waved at me

through the spring snow.

I didn’t take it personally,

her kindness, more like

an accident that I happened

to be there. Then it was

the woman who forgave me

for being confused

about when I was supposed

to arrive. Then the woman

who hugged me for no reason

at all. And the man who

looked up and smiled.

And the friend who

played me a tune.

Kindnesses inside every hour.

All day. It was like stumbling

on a word I’ve never heard before,

and suddenly—how could I

have missed it all this time—

it’s everywhere.

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Season

 

 

 

Where yesterday

there were no morels

today there are—

 

dozens of them,

small blond bouquets

in the grass.

 

I think about kindnesses.

How sometimes

they arrive

 

out of what seems

an absence.

How in that absence

 

it seems impossible

to believe that kindness

will ever return.

 

How delicious

the morels were tonight

in the cream,

 

so earthy, so rich,

so generous.

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perhaps by wind,

the first penstemon

entered the field

and flowered

and cast its seeds

and they flowered

and cast their seeds

and now the field

is full of tall, lovely

purple blooms—

look what one small

accidental beauty

can do.

 

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How We Learn to Fly

 

for Deb D’Angelo

 

In a recent dream, I flew—

not so much for pleasure,

though it was that, also, rather

because it was clearly the next

thing to do.

 

On the trail, I did, perhaps, fly

for a moment,

my body spread into the air

above the rocky slope.

There was, maybe, a second

of curiousness—an inkling of thrill.

 

But then the horrible fact

of gravity. I did not want

to open my eyes for a long,

long time. I did not cry then,

not when I saw my hands,

blackened and bloodied.

Not when my shoulder

refused to rise. Though it hurt,

I knew it would all be fine.

 

I did not cry at the sting of soap

and water in the library sink.

I did not mind the stares

of the patrons confused

by the sight of my ripped up tights.

 

The librarian offered to tend to me,

finding me salve and applying

the bandages, fitting them

to angles they didn’t want to fit.

It was the look in her eyes that did it,

the gentleness, the warmth.

 

As she hugged me

like a daughter, like a friend,

like a human, I sobbed into her hair,

so moved by her kindness,

how she cared for me with such tender hands—

and for a moment, I swear I flew,

unafraid of how I would land.

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A woman walks down the street.
It does not matter her name,

the color of her hair, her age,
or how she votes. What matters

is if you would go help her rise
when she trips and twists her ankle.

What matters is if you look openly
into her eyes when she is seeking yours.

What matters is if you see how she,
like you, is holding onto something dead

and has not quite yet managed to let
it go. There are cultures where people

greet each other, strangers and lovers,
by saying, I am the other you.

What matters is if, when you see the woman
walking on the street, you believe this is true.

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In it Together

Will you go with me,
circle no or yes.
That was all the note said,
signed Louie.
It passed hand to hand
beneath the tables
in the back of sixth-grade English.
I circled yes, sent it back,
and waited for Louie
after class by the door.
Perhaps a sign
of true love.
Three days later the Gooch
told me it was a joke.
Everyone knows, she said.
I called him that night
at his home. Is it true?
I asked him. He mumbled
something about how it had
all started that way, but
that he thought I was nice
and maybe we should
go together. He still
ignored me, like he always
did. Did not choose me
in gym to be on his side.
Did not sit at my table
at lunch. Did not chase me
at recess. Did not call.
Did not send any more notes
on wide-rule paper.
I don’t remember now
if I cried. But I wonder
tonight what kind of man
he became, and if he
perhaps came to have
a daughter who was,
like me, the third most
unpopular girl in the class.
And just what would he
say to the neighbor boy who would
treat his girl like that?
And who have I hurt?
Who sits in the kitchen
late at night and then,
for no reason, recalls the time
that I made them feel small.
I am sorry, whoever you are.
Forgive me. I am learning
this art of humanity
hour by hour by hour.

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