Posts Tagged ‘mistake’

Twelve minutes after I put
the pumpkin pie in the oven
I saw the two brown eggs
still sitting on the counter.
There are times it’s not too late—
when we still might see the loved one
if we go now,
still might catch that plane
if we just keep running,
still might save that friendship
if we pick up the phone
still might stave disappointment
if we pull that pie from the oven,
pour out soupy filling back in the bowl,
blend in the eggs.
How rich it tastes, that second chance
infused as it is with the risk of loss,
served perhaps with whipped cream,
the custard so sweet, so spicy.

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So little of life’s sweetness

can be planned. Oh, meals,

of course, and sometimes

children. But mostly, joy

loves a surprise, loves

when schedules get shuffled

and agendas unravel and

suddenly there’s a space

for bliss to slip in dressed

in calamity’s clothes.

So easy to praise what

looks like success—

but teach me to give thanks

for the mess—

whatever is burnt, broken,

wounded, fumbled, missed.

Teach me to be open in each

unscripted moment

to the bloom of gratefulness.

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Parting Gift

Parting Gift

Friends, I will be your blooper girl,

your end-of-the-credits buffoon.

You can film me as I fall, as I fail, as I flop,

as I drop the tray of glasses,

as my strapless top slips.

I’ll make it easy on you.

At least twenty times a day

I forget my lines.

At least ninety times a day,

I trip on my certainty.

Yes, I will be the one

who will flub most every punch line.

I’ll be the poster child

for sincere ineptitude.

I know, my outtakes

are better than my A roll.

But dang, the path of failure

has always served me.

And man, most of the time

I can laugh as I blunder,

laugh until you wonder why

I am still laughing,

laugh because what else

can a woman do when

gaffes are her saving grace?

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I was so excited to drop the impromptu Valentine

in through the car window—a white heart

with a big blue eye at its center that I’d ripped

into shape from an old magazine cover.


It slipped through the open window

and landed just right on the driver’s seat,

the eye facing up, the heart facing the door.


Imagine my surprise when my friend Kyra

told me she hadn’t been in town today.

Really? I asked her, stunned. Really, she said.


Because who would think there were two

red station wagons in town with the passenger door

bashed in and the back full of camping gear?


Dear stranger in the red station wagon who parked in town,

I know I didn’t give you the heart on purpose,

but I’m so glad I did. Sometimes our mistakes


have so much to teach us. Now I know

how I want to treat strangers: Like beloved friends.

Like people I thrill to shower with love.




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“We all make mistakes,” I say.
I know she hears me.
I look out the window.

From under the quilt,
she says nothing.
Only her eye is visible

through a fold. I catch it,
then look at the leafless cottonwood.
Somewhere, a dog

is barking. Somewhere,
the scent of almond.
“And then,” I say, “we have

a chance to learn.”
The snow in the yard
flashes against the low sun.

A robin finds a spot
where spring is stealing in,
the grass already greening

between the porch and the snow.
“And sometimes,” I say,
“our mistakes hurt other people.”

In the other room, the sound
of a timer. The sound of
a sponge running over

the nap of the couch.
“And if we hurt someone,” I say,
“it can be important to tell them

we are sorry. But only,” I say,
“when we really are sorry.”
I look out the window,

wanting to notice something
instead of my own quiet hands.
My hands smooth the quilt

where her small hip rises.
I say, “We don’t always know
why we do what we do.”

The timer again. Scent
of almond. Scent of butter.
I say, “Mommy makes

mistakes, too.” I watch
the words as they leave
my mouth and land on the walls,

the quilt, the sill.
A dog barks. Again.
Sharp bleat of the timer.

I close my eyes. Neither
of us moves. Inside me
a door opens. I feel what’s left

of my anger leave with a limp.
“Do you want to ask me anything?”
I say. Slowly, she pulls the cover

away. Her face is soft, guileless
as fruit on a tree. She says
nothing, but perhaps I hear

in her the sound of a door opening.

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