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If I prayed, which I don’t,
then we could say that I asked
god to open every door that I
had shut, every door I did not
know was there.
Why I asked this, well,
this will make sense to you
or it won’t, but every closed
door I was aware of
had became a point of suffering.
And with every open door,
I could feel congruence,
the world rushing in to create
more space in me.
And god said to me, though
we could not say that it was a voice,
god said, Open even the door with people jeering
on the other side, their faces twisted
in hate? Even the door to an entire
forest of sorrow? And because
this conversation was not really
happening, we could not say that
I said yes to the questions, but
we could say, perhaps, that
the yes began to root in me
and it was not so much a matter
of someone opening the doors
but that the doors more or less
dissolved. And what I had thought
could separate me from anything else
was shown to be nothing at all.
I would like to tell you that I felt grace
in the opening, but the truth
is I felt such terrible ache.
And god did not come put a hand
on my cheek and tell me
everything would be okay.
In fact, if anything, the voice
I did not hear told me
there are no promises.
But I felt it, the invitation
to keep opening doors,
to not close my eyes,
to not turn away.
And though I do not pray,
I said thank you, thank you.

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Unapologetic

Oh the water lilies. See how they seem
to open wider out of their own opening?

Let me unfold like that—without thinking,
without assuming I’m already open enough.

Do not let me close up, all stiff and stoic,
like a walnut that will not crack.

Don’t let me become the one who groans
when someone else starts to rhapsodize

about the fragrant wisteria in spring.
Why is being hardened a respectable, desirable thing?

Let me be soft. Let me always sigh as I bite
into ripe watermelon, juice spilling in runnels

of pink down my chin, down my neck.
Let someone else stand beside the waterfall

and explain how its negative ions work,
and let me be the one getting drenched

and falling in love with the sheen on the rocks.
Let me not leave my signature like the woodpecker,

but let me chant endlessly on summer nights
in the way that the whippoorwill does.

And why not? Why not praise the slender-bodied weasels
who turn white then honest brown?

Both colors are equally lovely. Why not enthuse
over the bulky walrus that has adapted to stay warm?

Oh let me be warm and give that warmth back to the world.
It’s so easy to turn cold, to poke fun, to accuse, to be cool.

Let me be a fool. Let my thoughts of how the world should be
jump away like a mob of wallabies. Let me not find pleasure

in making things small or putting others down
or rolling my eyes or criticizing. Let me be silly.

And gushing with praise for whatever
is the nearest thing I see—

a twig in the rain, a rock on the trail,
a red leaf that has already let go.

* a w-poem for Lian Canty’s Alphabet Menagerie, http://www.alphabetmenagerie.com

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no wrong turns today
so many possibilities
I never knew

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