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Posts Tagged ‘loss’

 

 

 

And maybe

though there

is no floor

you find

the grace

in falling—

after all

those years

of baby

steps, with

one plunge

you’re

evolving

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I fell in love, today, with the black

and blue marker stains on the table

made by the two-year-old boy—

he colored in the circles he’d drawn

with so much enthusiasm that the ink

seeped through the paper

and into the lemon cream paint on the table

where no amount of scrubbing could remove it.

 

It wasn’t so much the stain though, no,

and it wasn’t the color. What I fell in love with

was the way his mother didn’t see

that the table was ruined. She saw

that he did such a fine, precise job,

that he took so much pleasure in the coloring.

And when I apologized for bringing markers

that didn’t easily wash, she looked at me

with so much surrender and said,

“On a day like today,

who could worry about a table?”

 

It was yesterday they found the dog

waiting beside the car.

It was this morning the skier’s body was found

in a massive snow slide.

It was all day, through the stupor of loss,

I fell in love with the shape of empty branches,

the scent of black tea, the sound

of my son’s voice, fell in love

with the grace in the way my friend shrugged

when she saw the table, the way she hugged

her son. She offered me chocolate from London.

We ate the squares slowly. All day the gray edge

of grief made every little thing

more precious, more sweet.

 

 

 

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One Great Loss

—for Jack

 

 

such terrible silence

when the dog isn’t whining at the door—

the space on the dog bed empty

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Losing It

 

 

It was a tiny percentage, I knew, but still

there was some French royalty somewhere

in my blood. I would spend hours imagining

myself in my proper place: in a long pink dress

 

and thin gold crown in a castle on a green hillside,

doing needlepoint, no doubt, and nibbling bon bons,

and so when I again asked my mother to tell me about

that part of our heritage, she told me,

 

It’s so little blood, and you’ve had so many

skinned knees, I’m pretty sure you’ve

bled it all out by now. And I was instantly

less grandiose. That was, perhaps, the first identity

 

that I was aware of losing. But soon after that,

I was no longer blonde. And soon after that,

I no longer lived in Wisconsin. And soon after that,

I was no longer a Scout. Everything I thought

 

I knew about myself didn’t last. Ah,

the litany of losses. Those notions of who we are,

how they shed, they spill, they slip off.

As they’re lost, we usually rush to replace them.

 

I became worker. Lover. Parent. Friend.

We wear them so close, these identities ,

that we no longer see them as separate. We think

they’re who we are. But what if we skinned

 

not just our knees, but our thoughts,

and let those roles escape? Who would

be left to walk through the field this evening

to see the double rainbow stretched across the east?

 

 

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There was a time when I’d pull his hair out

if he sat too close to me on the couch.

Now, I curl into his right side,

lean my head on his shoulder,

feel the trembling of his chest

as he weeps. How good it feels

to be close to him as we grieve.

How familiar, the shape of his head,

the heft of his hand as he reaches for mine.

How deeply right, this leaning

into sorrow together.

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Why I Play Uno

 

 

 

It’s so easy, really,

when you have no blue

nor a seven, and so

you pick and you pick

and you pick, and your chances

of winning lessen with each

yellow four, each red six

But there’s so little at stake,

and so you laugh

as your hand fills to spilling.

No one is dying

and no one is lost

so you let luck

punch you in the gut

again and again.

You have favors

to call in later.

For now,

all you have to do

is find a little blue.

What’s another

yellow reverse?

What’s another

green two?

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Longing is the hardest thing to give up.

            —Jim Tipton, “What is This Place I Have Come To?”

 

 

Some days can’t end soon enough,

when the heart, so full of love,

breaks and breaks again—

for beauty, for loss.

And the eyes can’t cry

another damn tear

but they do anyway,

I would rather not

cry anymore, but God,

thank you for letting me

be one of the ones

who can’t help but weep,

whose house is built

too close to the water.

What a gift to feel this horrible ache

like a lantern, golden

and soft, guiding us

deeper and deeper

into our humanness,

leading us closer

to each other, even

though we have never felt

farther away,

and though the stars

are out and at last,

thank god, it is night,

we have never

been more awake.

 

 

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Lose something every day.

            —Elizabeth Bishop, “One Art”

 

 

Lose something every day, the poet said—

and how I laughed the first time that I read

her words. My keys? My gloves? My place in line?

My favorite socks? A name? My glass of wine?

I’ve got that down, I thought, and shook my head.

 

But then I thought of passing time, the threads

of dates unraveling—and how I try to wind

them back, reclaim those squandered hours as mine.

Lose something every day?

 

And then I thought of certainty, how wed

I am to thoughts, convictions, faith. Instead

of losing them, I cling. Then they confine.

Some things are better lost—my rigid mind,

my prejudice, old chains of shame, my dread—

lose something every day.

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She said my eyes had a golden gleam,

but it was her eyes, her eyes that redeemed

the world—the way she translated all she saw

into slender verse. I still hear her voice, soft as rain,

as she’d say, 0 Il faut, voyez-vous,

nous pardonner les choses—reciting Verlaine

as we sat beneath my old black umbrella

in the Jardin du Luxembourg. I knew,

even then, she would leave me. Knew

that although she threw red roses onto my floor

she would always return to Russia, her home.

Oh, but the tapered length of her. Like a candle,

a dancer, an Egyptian queen. How

her figure astonishes me. I draw her always

by memory. She, with the poise

of a Siamese cat. She with her stray dog soul.

When she left me, she took a single scroll

with her portrait sketched in pencil.

She tells me she’s taped it above her couch.

But she never returned. She never

returned. Now all my lines are ghosts.

 

To see some of Modigliani’s images of Anna Akhmatova, visit:

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/earshot/amedeo-modiglianis-nude-drawings-of-anna-akhmatova/7389982

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One the Day After

 

 

 

on my lap

the emptiness refuses to purr—

it is all that I hear

 

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