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Posts Tagged ‘life’

Porosity




And so I learn I am porous—
learn I am not just dust,
but soil. Everything
moves through me.
I am not the container
I believed myself to be,
but a portion of earth
more other than self.

In a dream, I was told,
The body is permeable
to life and to death.

I want to remember
that voice. I want to remember
how it feels to be earth,
to know the self as both living
and dead.

I want to remember how absence
has never felt more holy,
how its sacredness is rivaled
only by the holiness of what’s here.

No separation, said the voice.
Remember.

I want to remember
the infinite dark inside
each infinite moment,
how both soil and time
are planted with stars.

Oh sweet teachings
that I cannot understand,
how they spiral out
like galaxies inside me,
how they slip
like loose soil through my hands.

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Dear friends, 

It has been seven weeks since I sent you a poem–seven weeks since my son chose to take his life. Thank you for all the ways you’ve supported me in this time–prayers, emails, letters, gifts. Though I have been unable to respond to all your kindness with personal notes, please accept my enormous gratitude. Thank you. Thank you for all the love and kindness I have felt surrounding and infusing me–I have never felt alone. I am so grateful for you. 

I think I am ready to continue the daily sharing. We’ll see how it goes. 

with love, 
Rosemerry




Digging Potatoes, 2021



I am not the woman I was
a year ago when my son and I
harvested potatoes. Today
I must look like her—
bare hands in the dirt,
sunhat on. But she did not know
the deep loss of losing a son.
Perhaps she’d imagined it.
That is why she did everything
she could to keep such a loss
from happening. But the woman
I am today knows all too well
what I cannot control.
I plunge my fingers
into the cold earth
and talk to my son
as if he can hear me.
I miss you, I say. And I reminisce
about all the other years
we did this together. I ooh
at the size of the potatoes,
hold them up as if he can see.
What does love care of absence?
Love grows, despite death—
it roots in each cell and insists
on tendrilling, touching everything.
In the middle of the night,
a voice commanded me to remember:
Life needs us to live it.
All day I puzzle over the message.
All day I lean into the words.
I say them out loud as I pull out
potatoes, ask my son what he thinks
it might mean. No reply. He has become
one with life now in a way
I cannot yet understand.
And so I breathe into it, this chapter
of loss, this life needing me to live it.
All around me, inside me,
I notice how so much is changing, notice
in each moment, a new invitation.

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I wish you the peace of sleep,
your breath a canoe
that carries you
toward the next moment
without any need
for you to touch the oars.
How easily you arrive.

Oh, to trust the world like that—
trust you will be carried,
not just in sleep,
but in waking dreams,
trust no matter how high the waves,
the skiff of grace
has a seat for you.
And oh, to let go of the oars—
there is no steering
toward what comes next.

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on the way to the graveyard
taking a few detours through spring—
trill of red wing blackbirds

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That was the year I only bought clothes imported from Bali—
baggy pants in a geometric black-and-white print,
long swishy flowery skirts in bright blues
and thin dresses with intricate knot designs.
I don’t know what became of them all—
Good Will, I suppose. Not that I want them back,
but I miss the girl who felt like a treasure in them,
who wore them lightly, who danced and ran in them,
who twirled in the middle of a field
so the fabric would ripple out and would fall down
in the grass and not worry about the stains.
I miss the girl who shrugged out of those clothes
every time she was near an alpine lake,
slipping nakedly into the icy clear water.
I miss how she wore her life back then,
like something exotic, something beautiful,
something new she couldn’t wait to try on.

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One Stuck

this infinite book of life

and me still re-reading

chapter one

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Forecast

Nobody keeps any of what he has, and life is only a borrowing of bones.

          

  —Pablo Neruda, “October Fullness,” trans. Alistair Reid

And if we can keep nothing of what we have

then let us love more right now. Naked as sunlight

and unapologetic as ripe apples. Let’s invent

new compassions and conjure new kindnesses

out of what seems to be dust.

And if life is only a borrowing of bones,

then let us use them well while we may.

Just today I ran through the corn maze

and marveled at the joy of being lost.

Bless these borrowed femurs and spines.

Bless these borrowed skulls.

And let us love more right now.

Though the forecast is for loss.

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Learning

Today the shadows

teach me to love

what is dim,

the sweet respite

of obscurity

when the sun

is too much

and a tree

yields its shape

so that I might slip

my clumsy heat

out of the bounds

of the vertical world

and find instead

a cool dark pool

on the ground,

as if I’m a boat

that has discovered

at last

a slim calm eddy

in which I might rest.

This is perhaps

the way we start

to meet our deaths—

sliding into the relief

of these dark, quiet

channels.

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Tonight, life wears me like

an old pair of shoes. The kind

it can slip its feet into

without untying the laces.

The kind of shoes a mother

would probably throw out

thinking of the act as a favor.

Life is tired, tonight,

of running. Doesn’t want

to dress to impress. It just

wants to know that it goes on,

especially tonight when

events seem to point

to the contrary. And so

though I am down at the heel

and shabby, life slips into me

as if life depended on it.

And we walk in the moonlight,

cry. And howl. Then take another step.

And then another.

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turnovers

 

 

My own fault for not reading all the directions

on how to make puff pastry from scratch—

how after the shaggy dough phase, you shape

and then chill. And then roll and fold and roll

and shape the dough. And chill. And then roll

and fold and roll and fold. And chill. Then roll

and slice. And chill. And fill. And chill. So often,

mid project, I find myself thinking I would never

have started this project had I known

how long it would take. Flour on my pants,

on the floor, on the table.

 

Six hours later, nearly midnight, my daughter

and I baste the chilled triangles with water,

sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar,

then put them in the oven at last. We are tired,

but the house fills with the sweet scent

of baking apple, the home-rich scent of crust.

 

What is life, but a big project we are in the middle of?

A project I’m in no hurry to finish.

In fact, these days are like puff pastry dough,

guiding me to take it slow, slower, to rest

between steps. I haven’t read all the directions.

For now I am laughing. It’s so much more

than I thought I was in for. But I’m here,

hands ready. I’m willing to work, to clean up the mess.

 

 

  • photo by Finn Trommer

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