Posts Tagged ‘mystery’

By now I know it’s impossible
to make someone else
fall in love with the world,
so when you say to me,
Look, Mom, the sky, it’s so beautiful,
and you stand there in the glow of sunset,
soft pink shining on your face,
I fall more in love not only with you
but with whatever it is
that opens us to wonder—
whatever grand mystery it is
that breathes warmth on our tight scales
and whispers to us, open,
then helps us get out of our own way
as one by one the petals unfurl,
and my god, the beauty,
the mystery, the beauty.

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The day after you died,
your dad and I stood
on a sidewalk in Georgia
and everything was strange—
I barely knew I was in a body.
I was so in my body.
The muggy air was unfamiliar.
With every sob, I pulled it
into my lungs and it became me.
What I remember:
The sound of airplanes.
The sweet scent of flowering trees.
There were no cars on the road.
It had rained and the night
had not yet come and there,
in the distance, a double rainbow.
I’m a logical woman. I know
what happens when sunlight
enters raindrops in front of me
at a precise angle of forty-two degrees.
And yet.
No one could ever convince me
it wasn’t you, you who had become
more spectral than flesh,
an optical illusion that doesn’t exist
in a specific spot, but, for any who look,
they cannot help but see the real
and radiant truth of it.
To this day, I remember how
those twin rainbows stitched me
back into the world, tethered me
to wonder, to mystery; connected me
to all I cannot understand.
Even now, there are drops falling
down my face. Perhaps, if the light
were just right, one might see
inside them something beautiful.

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Why I Stay Up Late

So gently the darkness
curls around the world,
first dusky, then dim,
then lushly black—
so generous, the way
it thickly spreads
the softest of songs
until silence silks
the empty streets
and velvets the vacant rooms—
even this riotous heart
inclines toward quietude

and whatever part of me
that knows something yawns
and the part of me
who falls in love
with mystery
leans more easily
into the ever-unknown

and I meet the starry
grand embrace,
speck that I am,
and marvel
at my insignificance,
marvel at how enormous
it is, this openness,
this gratitude.

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In the box from eBay,

a green crystal elephant

and not one clue

as to who might have sent it.


There are days

when I am amazed

by the goodness of people,

how we are marked by generosity


There are days

when I whisper thank you,

though I don’t know to whom,

and I revel in the mystery.




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I thought I was Nancy Drew,

a girl who stumbled into mysteries

and solved them. A girl proficient

at picking up clues. A girl who knew

her mission. It felt good to crack

the codes, to decipher the signs.

It felt good to know who was bad.

It felt good to know I was good.


And then I learned some signs

have multiple meanings. That sometimes

a mission gets in life’s way. That

bad people are also good,

and good people are also bad.

And that the solution is seldom

as elegant as the mystery—

secrets unfolding in the shadows.

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After Reading the Rules




It wasn’t that hard to figure out,

Mrs. White with the revolver in the conservatory.

It took less than half an hour—


the right questions asked, the right rolls

of the dice, the luck of being in the right

room at the right time.


Some mysteries persist—you know,

the ones that keep you awake. No cards

neatly dealt to the players. No brown paper envelope


containing the answers. No score sheet

with a finite grid of possibilities. I walk out

and look up at the stars. A voice from nowhere


says the words I do not really want to hear,

but it says them with such tenderness:

some mysteries are not meant to be solved.


I feel some part of me relax, though the mind, well,

it loves a good game. It reaches for a pencil, sharpens

the lead, creates a grid, looks for clues in every room.




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Right there on the side street curb,

I did it. I quit. I told my children

to find another mom. I’m done,

I said. Please, go find another woman

who doesn’t get so frustrated, who

lets you do any little thing you want.

I didn’t think about the future.

All I knew was that I had nothing

left to give them. It had not been

a terrible day. We rode bikes

alongside a river. We had panned

for gold in a makeshift sluice.

We had snuggled in bed with a book

to start the day. Sometimes our lowest points

look so shallow on the surface.

Who could see that there was a fathomless dry ocean

inside me, nothing but a basin where once

whole worlds had thrived.

It was habit that saved us. We closed

the doors to the car. I walked

toward the street without looking back.

It was a few seconds later I feared

that perhaps they were not behind me,

but there they were in quiet step.

How could it be, but in those few seconds

some mysterious hand had come

to refill the empty sea, not just with enough

to wade in, no, but with love overflowing,

great tides of love, the kind you can sail on

in boat that only floats with more than one on board.

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Power to the paradox.
–Jack Mueller

Today you are the cut on the finger
and you also the knife.
You the bandage that wraps the wound.
You the Advil, the ice.

You the sun, and the burn that comes.
You the aloe salve.
You the moon and the absence of moon.
You the children’s laugh.

And you the scent of old dead leaves,
and you the stubborn green.
You the red wine and the empty cup.
The song, the one who sings.

And you the silence between the notes.
You the coat and the chill.
You the uncomfortable anger, the blame,
you the one who sees through.

And you the lines I will never write.
And you the eraser, the lead.
You the peace and you the unrest
the beginning without end.

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Let’s Not Give It a Name

dusting off all these
stars we’ve forgotten
to wish on, surprised
to find a new

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Living by Water

If you dig deep enough
anywhere on this land
you will eventually hit water.
It is hard to believe this,
looking at the field with its tall grass
and mullein leaves and globes of salsify.

It is so human to want some proof,
to grab the shovel and dig up the earth
so that dirt covers the daisies, the grass.
Then they’re buried and dead, but at least
we know, our shovels wet, that it was true.

Sometimes I wish I had the scalpel
that could cut into to me to find you,
you the river who moves
through my life, clear and continuous,
immeasurable, surprising, unseen.

But what would it prove that I do
not already know: That we die
without water. That the field
is a good place to kneel, to pray.

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