Posts Tagged ‘love’





Perhaps because I am cold

I want to bring you warmth—

isn’t that how it goes?

We wish for each other

what we most want for ourselves.

And so I wish you real love,

the kind that is as familiar

as brushing your teeth, as spectacular

as the sky tonight drenching the world

in pink just before

the dark took everything.

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            for Jude Janett



All day, I replay these words:

Is this the path of love?

I think of them as I rise, as

I wake my children, as I wash dishes,

as I drive too close behind the slow

blue Subaru, Is this the path of love?

Think of them as I stand in line

at the grocery store,

think of them as I sit on the couch

with my daughter. Amazing how

quickly six words become compass,

the new lens through which to see myself

in the world. I notice what the question is not.

Not, “Is this right?” Not,

“Is this wrong?” It just longs to know

how the action of existence

links us to the path to love.

And is it this? Is it this? All day,

I let myself be led by the question.

All day I let myself not be too certain

of the answer. Is it this? I ask as I

argue with my son. Is it this? I ask

as I wait for the next word to come.



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Easier to keep open the doors of the heart

when a feathery breeze comes through, or

the scent of lavender, or slant of sun. Harder


when a wounded tiger comes in. Of course,

the impulse then is to run it out and close

the doors. Lock them. Barricade and block them.


But now is the time to take those locks

to the second hand store and to pull the chairs

away from the door and place them at the table,


then pour two cups of water. Say grace.

Let the tiger pace. And always, I pace, too.

Of course, I’m afraid it will hurt me.


That’s what wounded tigers do. And when

the inevitable happens, it’s hard to not wish

it were some other way. And it’s tempting


to lock those doors. But when I do, I quickly

note the lack of light in here, I want

for lavender, I rue how very stale the air.


Rather to die by tiger claw than live cut off from love.

Even now the wounds are raw, but oh, the breeze,

it touches them, and how soft it licks at my chest, my cheek.


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Because we are traveling,

I say, We’re on the plane.

I say, Just landed. I say, See you soon.


As always, my heart leans beyond

the transactional. Longs to say,

Tell me about the pain. Longs


to say, I feel lonely. Longs to ask,

What do I most need to know?

But it’s not easy to hear. And


there isn’t much time. Is that

just the same old excuse?

And so I say, I love you,


because it is true. Say,

Can’t wait to see you.

Say, Gotta go. All through


the flight, the heart keeps leaning,

rehearses the five

most important words:


tell me all about it.

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One Orienteering




in love’s hands

the compass needle

spins around the rose

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Before you were born,

your hand had more muscles,

for instance the dorsometacarpales,

a reptilian remnant, an atavistic relic

from when all blood was cold blooded.

By the time you were thirteen weeks

in utero, a third of the muscles

in your hands and feet had fused

with other muscles. Your body

simply deleted them, proof

that before we are born,

before we are ready

to inhabit our forms,

we are in some ways

made less complex.

I think of this now as I open my hand

for your hand, think

of how much things change.

How once we had fins, then claws.

And now, look at us,

with hands that might caress,

might soothe, might reach.

God, this impulse to be warm.

And I think of how sometimes,

growth means to become more simple.

This is my prayer. To do

what the nascent body can do:

to remember where I came from,

to streamline, to know what is needed,

to know what to let go.


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You’re hesitating, says John from behind his mask.

Each time I invite you to strike, you wait. And he’s right.

Each time before I extend and lunge, I drop my sword.

It’s crazy. I tell myself not to do it, but every time

he motions to strike, instinct says: drop the sword.

John, I say, I’ve trained myself not to be aggressive.

When people are vulnerable, I do everything I can

to make them feel safe. It helps that John

is gentle. It helps that he beams at me a genuine smile.

Don’t think of it as aggression, he says. If someone

you love gives you the signal to touch them,

aren’t you always ready to meet them then?

And I am. Think of it as an invitation to touch.

I wonder how many stories I’ve hardwired into me.

Thou shalt not hurt. Thou shalt not strike.

Thou shalt not stab another with a sword.

I wonder that I struggle so instinctively now

when this is so clearly a game.

John drops his sword. I extend, I lunge.

I touch his chest through his silver vest

with the tip of my sword, then retreat.

Good, he says. Good. Again. Again.

Is this the way we learn all the rules

we have written for ourselves?

By breaking them. Is this the way

we might choose to meet our opponents?

By loving them.

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It’s something the hands learn

with practice—how thin to slice

the apples for drying, how close

to cut to the core. In the same way

the hands learn to touch a lover,

how gently, how firmly, just where.

Oh the apple. What it knows

of desire. What it knows

of bruising, of bite. Oh the hands,

what they know of precision.

Of the pleasure of practice.

Of the joy in getting it right.

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so I build a fence

with hinges on every post

every gate unlocked

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And coming closer, I catch a familiar scent

and lean my head in the open window,

breathe in, and I am sixteen again, and Peter

is sitting beside me and The Russians Love

their Children, Too is playing on the tape deck

and we’re singing along, the windows are down

and the night is warm and we’re finding a place

in the dark where we can park and practice ways

to fit our tall thin bodies into the tiny back seat.

And it’s summer. And I love him. And he loves me.

I’m downshifting and he has his hands up my shirt

and we’re laughing and we have no idea yet

just how much it will hurt when we learn

that love is not enough when it comes

to scripture and doctrine and who marries whom.

No, tonight, it’s just me and Peter and the generous

dark and Sting and the indifferent moon.


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