Posts Tagged ‘loss’

Goodbye to holding you, goodbye
to family trips and snuggling before bed,
goodbye to plans and to laughter,
your clothes and your car. Goodbye
to the awe I felt as I watched you
become more yourself, goodbye
to the dizzying map of promise I saw
as you plotted your days. Goodbye to all I knew.

But now, it’s hello. Hello, love that still grows.
Hello as I rise, when I walk outside.
Hello, with my hands in the dirt, when I drive
the winding alpine divide, hello when I light a candle,
hello when the hot tears come. Hello, I say,
hello, aware now I am never alone.

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The Inconceivable

Nothing can separate us from love.
There is no way to know this
without paying a cost so great
some part of us longs to bargain
with the universe and trade back
the priceless truth. But part of us—
the part that cannot be named,
the part that wakes at dawn,
the part that sings in the darkness,
the part that wades in the infinite—
it’s not so much that this part says yes,
more that it simply expands with the truth,
much as the universe itself expands
due to a dark, mysterious energy.
Any scientist will tell you,
empty space is not nothing.
We who grieve learn
to hold that empty space
and know it as love.
I know, it’s inconceivable.
We feel how it holds us, too.

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The Opening

If the day is a hinge,
   then loss is the hand
     that swings the door
       so that what I would never choose
         becomes my opening.
What I would never choose
   becomes the thing
     that makes me need to be
       a better person.
What I could not choose
   becomes the spring board
     to devotion.
       So let me open.
In this time of broken hope,
   love says to me,
     Be the yes.
       And if you cannot be the yes,
         then stop trying anything
            and let yourself fall
              into to the opening.

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For the One Who Is Gone

The way skin loves the scar
that remakes the skin into itself,
that is the way I love you.
I love you the way I love
driving on dirt backroads,
the way I love walking in the dark—
unsure of where I am,
unsure of where I’m going,
so the slightest movement
requires my whole attention.
I love you, though I am
a barren peach tree
with nothing to offer
but the memory of when
there were peaches, ripe and sweet.
And love is a glove
filled with holes
that still fits.
And love is a fountain
that doesn’t care how many
coins are tossed in for wishes.
I love you the way I love the space
where the cottonwood used to stand—
how the air there will forever be
the place where the cottonwood grew.
I love you the way
the rain barrel loves the rain
that doesn’t fall.
I love you because
not loving you
feels like the worst fate of all.

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Meeting Some Truths

The truth was an avalanche—
an avalanche midsummer,
which is to say
it didn’t seem possible,
but it happened.
And I was buried
beneath the cold
immense weight of it.
Crushed but still breathing—
another impossible truth.
I know some would like to see
the uprooted world
already green and lush again,
but anyone who
has wandered through
old avalanche paths
knows it takes many seasons
before the fallen old growth trees
have moldered into soil,
many seasons before the new saplings
have grown into forest again.
One truth is, the healing begins quickly,
but takes a long time.
Even then, the forest is never the same.
One truth is, so much of transformation
happens beneath perception.
One truth is, we all live
in the avalanche path.

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Impossible Change

for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing
            —Galway Kinnell, “Saint Francis and the Sow”

Body that held the bloom of the child
as it grew inside, grew from one cell
to two trillion cells, body that stretched
and leaked and ached and tore, body
that was on board for a miracle, thank
you. Thank you for stooping, for chasing,
for bending and cuddling, for creating milk
and spilling tears and falling asleep as you must.

How empty the arms now, how slow the pulse,
how tight the throat, how strong this urge
to curl into what is not here. How hard it is
to open, to meet the world anew.
And yet every day, you turn to what is real
and, how is it possible, the heart, it blossoms.

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I Would

Driving over McClure Pass,
stunned by the pink sunrise
draping the snowy West Elks,
I remember dozens of times
we drove this route and love,
it makes me miss you. The way
car washes make me miss you.
The way pumpkin spice lattes
and green tractors make me
miss you. The way breathing
and walking down the street
make me miss you. And I think
of how much it hurts every
minute you aren’t here.
I think of the tears, the fits,
the fights, the long nights,
the whispers, the tenderness,
and my love, I would,
I would do it all again.

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I Bless Every Yes I Said

There were nights when my son
would come to me late, like midnight,
and say, Mom, come on, let’s go drive.
And though I was tired, and though I knew
the canyon roads would make my stomach turn,
I’d say yes, because I was glad he’d ask,
and we’d get in the Ford and I’d feel the thrill
as it flooded him each time he’d sit at the wheel.
The night was our cathedral.
And we’d talk, or we wouldn’t, and he’d drive
us up to the top of the Dallas Divide.
I’d feel like heaving my guts every time. But damn,
how I loved those nights. The hymn of the wheels.
His smile. His laugh. The quiet canticle of breath.
No matter what choices came later,
I have those times he steered toward joy,
Those nights when we were so alive
and we’d drive, just drive.

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Not the butcher knife and not the axe—
those instruments that whack and slash.
Oh life, give me the paring knife that fits easily
in the hand. I am wounded from the larger blades,
scarred by all they’ve cut away. Am I the wielder
of the knife? Or the one that’s being carved?
If I had my way, I’d shape my days with purpose
and precision—cut away what’s rotten,
peel and trim what doesn’t serve and still
preserve the whole. I want to be dexterous,
agile, deft. I want to be careful with what is left.
And what is left—it’s become more precious
knowing how quickly it might be sliced away.
Oh, let’s be real. If it were my hand,
I’d be hard pressed to use a blade at all,
no matter how slim, no matter how small.
For each time it moves, I hear the blade sing,
when this work is done, you’ll lose everything.
And it catches the light as it shaves and pares.
And less is here. And less is here.

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Every step through the deep snow
of the field, I noticed your footprints
not there beside your dad’s, your sister’s
and mine. I noticed the silence
when no one argued about which tree
was best. I noticed the hands
that didn’t hold the saw, the arms
that didn’t carry the tree. I think
you’d like to know we laughed
as the snow sifted from the high branches
and down our necks. And we chose
the most beautiful spruce. Tall.
It would have been about as old
as you. I wore your coat—the blue
with the orange lining. It kept me
warm. Though the shade was deep.
Though the cold reached in. Though
I knew it wasn’t really you warming me.
But it was.

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