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Posts Tagged ‘love’

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.

https://earthsky.org/human-world/Evolutionary-remnants-muscles-human-embryos

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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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What One Evening Can Do

 

for Christie and Dave

 

 

Tonight, just when I am ready

to believe the news and give up

on humanity, someone I love invites me

to her home and fills my glass

with wine that her husband has made.

 

And the husband brings me plates of cheese

and crackers and tomatoes he grew

in his garden, and they tell me stories

about travel and books, and they give me

a bed with clean white sheets

 

and a tall glass of good cold water

and an open window to let in the breeze.

All night the coyotes sing in the canyon,

a reminder of the wild nature of things,

and in the moments before sleep, I feel certain

 

that the world is good, that we are here

to take care of each other and the land

we live on, that one beautiful act will inspire

countless more, and that love can change

everything, All night, the coyotes sing.

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One Week Later

 

 

 

There are moments I forget she is gone.

Perhaps when I am in the garden. Or painting

rocks. Or making dinner. And then I remember.

She’s gone. I cry less now, but still.

I cry. Of course. Because the cloth I use to wipe

my glass table. Because the vase I slip

marigolds into. Because the necklace

I am wearing. Because out of nowhere

the sound of her voice. Because

the book I am reading. Because

when I think of how much she loved me,

how much I loved her, I gasp and

my nose starts to tingle and my eyes

well, and I know she would tell me

not to cry, but I do. Because it’s a beautiful

and rare gift to love someone. Deeply. Because

she was my gift. Because I was hers.

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One Near a Mud Puddle

 

 

 

this old heart

wrinkled and graying

still learning to walk

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for Phyllis

 

 

I remember the day she chose me.

It was fall. I didn’t know then

I would come to love her, didn’t know

how trust would grow, like catnip, like oregano,

more robust, more wild every year.

I didn’t know how I’d been waiting to be chosen,

that she would help me find the wings I’d never felt,

never seen. That she would dare me to fly.

That she would be the wind.

 

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