Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

The Long Marriage

Perhaps I know you best in the dark—
that nightly shrine
where my belly meets your spine,
where the bend of my knees
meets the bend of your knees,
where my warmth meets your warmth,
the night a vase
in which we place
the stems of our bodies,
in which I know myself
through touch.
And nothing must be said
and nothing must be done
except to meet the long familiar flesh,
this honoring of nakedness.

Perhaps I know you best in the dark—
these lightless hours when
we sit in the midst of brokenness
and my hand finds your hand,
and my silence finds your silence,
my loss finds your loss,
and together, somehow,
we find peace.
And nothing can be said.
And nothing can be done
to change the past.
We meet in the these darkened hours,
with nothing but our willingness
to meet these darkened hours,
these hours we would have pushed away,
these hours that bring us closer to each other.

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Contact Joy

He cleans the base of the skis
with a fine, steel brush to remove
the old wax, his body swaying
above the ski, tip to tail, tip to tail,
so the micro hairs on the base
will lay down in the direction of travel
on snow. A fine copper brush
cleans it more. His movements
are quick, precise, a dance
that now comes naturally.
The only music is the sound
of the brushes, the sound
of his breath. There is no
laughter, no joking,
not even a smile, but
sometimes on winter nights
I walk toward the light
in the garage and watch
his body intent on its work,
and I feel the quiet joy
he finds in preparation
and the work of foundation,
and his joy seeps into me,
soft as the darkness
that holds the garage,
deep as the space
that holds us all.

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for Amy and Devin



two rivers

become one water—

sound of ten thousands hands clapping

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every pumpkin knows

you need just enough air

for the candle to burn,

just enough shelter

to keep the flame alive


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            a found poem



mom, she says,

I found this ring I’m wearing

on the ground—

do you think it means

the world and I are married?


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He knows how to read the coming weather

from the direction of the wind.

He knows from the shape of the clouds

when the storm will start.

All I knew, when I met him,

was that I wanted our love to last forever.

I did not understand what forever meant.

Nor did I know much about love,

though I thought I did.

I am not so better at reading the heart,

but I do know, watching him watch the sky,

that twenty some years is not enough

and that love is what we are here to share

and that after seeing all those mare’s tails

this morning, there is a storm a-coming,

and that after some time

the wind will come from the north

and there will be calm after that.

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After Waking

Beneath our boat

a swimming bear—

I tell myself to be afraid

but I’m too delighted

by its brown body,

elongated and sleek

moving like a wave itself

in the clear, clear water.

A marriage, too,

is a boat. Or is it

the bear?

Or is it the man

and the woman

in the boat,

watching beneath them

the most exquisite

dangerous thing,

something that could kill them

but chooses instead


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You are my blizzard, my tempest, my hail,
you my cloudless sky.
I learn to say yes to your everywhere
and yes to your nowhere.
Yes to your hawk, your sparrow.
Yes to your desert, your orchards of plums
ripe and fat with sweetness.
Yes to your knives and yes to your blossoms.
Yes to your silence, yes to your growl.
Yes to the part of me that says no.
Yes to the fear of yes.
Yes to your flash flood, yes to your drought.
Yes to the angry red ache and yes to infinite tenderness.
Yes to the walls and the walls falling down.
Yes to the prison, the skeleton key.
Yes to you, yes, I say yes, yes again,
yes to your killing frost,
yes to your warm morning after.

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It all falls down eventually.
The ivory tower, the concrete tower,
the mountains, the mesas, the happily ever,
the everything we know. Even heaven
begins to sag eventually. First one corner.

One corner is enough to alarm the king.
It all falls down eventually.
“Heaven is sagging!” he shouts
to his servants. “We must keep it
from toppling!” And so he commands,
as kings often do, his workers to make it right.
“Build me a pillar of copper, red,
and place it under the sagging floor
so heaven doesn’t fall.”

My dear, I have been the king.
I have tried to construct
a pillar, a grand one, to hold up any depressions
that slant our love. When we list, I build
the pillar higher. For a time it feels right.

But the earth beneath the red copper pillar
was only made of earth. And it only worked
for a while before the ground gave way
beneath the weight of paradise.
It all falls down eventually.
The king wandered the streets of heaven
in search of the strongest man.
Finding him, he cried, “Heaven is collapsing!”
And he ordered the man to stand on the earth,
feet wide, spine tall. He said, “Hoist
that copper pillar on your shoulder. Now stay.”

My dear, I have wanted to be the strongest man.
I have hoisted and held the pillar until
my bones have buckled, my spine warped.
It all falls down eventually.

After a while, even a strong man’s shoulder
grows tired and sore. After a while, even
the strongest man must shift a burden
to his other shoulder. And though he is careful,
though he wills himself to be solid,
the earth quakes, it trembles as he shifts
his weight. And though heaven stays up,
things on earth fall down.

My love, I am not the strongest man.
I have fallen down and brought heaven
down with me. My love, I have dropped the pillar.
I have seen the crash of paradise and felt
the weight of its rubble. I have seen the vines
grow up green amidst the wreckage.
We have walked these ruins together.
It is easier here to laugh. I’m no longer
frightened of falling. Heaven is no place for us.
Here, are your shoulders tired, too? Come.
Let’s lie down in this grass. Feel how the earth
reaches up to meet us. Oh love, what is this
beauty, I am trembling.

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All those plans we had for what we thought
love was supposed to be—all those directions
that someone else wrote that we followed step by step,

all those destinations we knew we just had to reach,
all those trails and roads and paths,
they were all dead ends.

It was innocent enough. Still, when standing at the edge
of a cliff that was supposed to be happily ever after, it is hard
to not want to blame someone.

And after the days of vertigo, and after the nights
of told-you-so and after the years of why and how
and taking an eraser to all the plans,

and after the shedding and after the seeking
and after we stopped believing in believing,
and after the masks fell off and our hands were emptied

love showed up right here, growing like a volunteer seed.
Who could say what it is, what it will become?
So we nourish it together, marveling as it grows into itself.

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