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Posts Tagged ‘night’




I want to listen to your absence
the way I listen to the night—
the way the dark somehow
invites a deeper listening.
I want to hear, for instance,
the way silence fills in
where your voice has been,
or the way the room seems to know itself
by the pound of missing footsteps,
and in this way, I find you
where I cannot find you.
I am thinking of how the night opens up
between the calls of the owl
and how I listen in that interval
not only with my ears, but with my skin.
I want to listen for you with my lungs—
as if every breath is attentive
to the syllables of grief, of love.
I want my heart to angle in
to hear what the silence has to say.
I don’t want to hear what I most want to hear—
I want to hear what is really here.
I want to listen and learn from the listening.
I want to hear what is true.
I want to listen into your absence
and lean into it the way I lean into the night—
something so much larger than me,
something familiar and always new,
something so present, yet unable to be touched.
Something I am still learning to love.

*

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Communion

Now, when I am alone
I am never alone. I walk
outside or get in my car
and reflexively say hello
to my beloveds no longer here,
calling them by name.
I love to say their names—
like singing a favorite song.
I love to tell them about
the bald eagles this morning
carving the sky above the river,
about the carrot soup
I will make for dinner,
about how my ears, my mind
and my arms miss their voices,
their opinions, their touch.
During the day, they are
my shadows, always
attached, but silent.
During the night, when
I am part shadow,
they welcome me
deeper into the night.

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In Those Quiet Hours




For two weeks after he died,
I’d fall asleep exhausted
only to wake just past midnight.
Desperate, I’d claw at sleep,
frantic to catch it and clutch it,
but always it slipped my grasp
and I’d lie awake till morning.

My friend suggested
I reframe those sleepless hours
as a sacred time, an intimate,
personal quiet time. Not a problem.
Not something to be treated.
Not something to be feared.
That night, as I emerged from sleep,
dreams dripping from me like water,
I did not resist the waking.
Instead, eyes closed, heart open,
still lying in bed, I said,
I love you, Finn. I miss you, sweetheart.
And woke on the shore of morning.
Ever since, it happens just like this—
when I slip from sleep,
I tell my son I love him
and slide unknowingly
back into the tide of dreams.

How many hundreds of times
when he was young, did I go to him
when he cried out in the night?
I’d press my palms against his chest  
until his breath was a skiff for dreams.

Years later, though I can’t feel his hands,
though I don’t hear the lullaby of his breath,
somehow he arrives to comfort me.
And though I don’t hear him say
the words I’d always say to him,
I feel them float above me like a blanket,
warm in the cool night air—
Shhh. I’m here. It’s okay. I’m here.

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One Inner Bonfire




they invite
new ways of making light—
these longest nights

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Choosing




It’s not the meteor shower
with its wild arcs of light
that unzip the velvet dark—
what moves me is the one star
that manages to shine
through the thick atmosphere,
a lone light in this giant dome,
not more than a speck,
yet it persists, constant.
There are many ways to shine,
it seems to say, its tiny glint
winking against midnight.
And the dark is deep and long.

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Sitting in the Dark

tree crickets so loud
I grow smaller
until all that’s left
of me is
hum

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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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Things to Do While Not Asleep

Check the time. Reach for scraps of the dream you just woke from.

Close your eyes again. Remind yourself of studies that say

you’re still getting rest even if you feel awake. Curse the studies.

Curse the awakeness. Notice how cursing wakes you even more.

Toss. Count breaths of the person sleeping next to you.

Tell yourself not to be resentful of them, though you are.

Touch your hand to the sleep heavy weight of their leg. Breathe.

Try not to remember something terrible you did long ago.

Perseverate on the details. Wish you could apologize,

though you’ve long since forgotten the names.

Determine that starting tomorrow morning you will be a better person

in a belated attempt to atone for past mistakes.

Tell yourself not to look at the clock again. Look at the clock again.

Calculate to the minute how long you’ve been awake. Worry

about tomorrow. Worry about your kids. Worry about the country.

Worry that you worry too much. Refuse to look at the clock.

There is a lake in the night, dark and deep. Feel yourself held by it,

as if you are floating. As if the night buoys you, cradles you like a mother.

Miss your mother. Take a few strokes in the night lake. Notice

how quiet it is. Feel yourself slip beneath its surface.

When the light comes, swim toward the light.

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I had imagined we’d see dozens of meteors

   streaming across the sky, streaking,

      flaming, impossibly bright.

         Instead, I lay on the driveway

between my son and daughter

   and we stared into the night,

      laughing and singing and listening

         to the sound of the earth turning,

the pavement hard beneath us—

   and above us, the whole

      starry firmament unfolding.

         Not one shooting star did we see, no, but oh,

how the milky way swirled all around us,

   our eyes wide open, my heart soaring, swarming,

      a small piece of matter burning up,

         glowing, impossibly bright,

never quite touching the earth.

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One Illumining

 

 

midnight walk

even my silence

reflects the moonlight

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