Posts Tagged ‘other’


after Naomi Shihab Nye, “Red Brocade”

I would like to think if you arrived at my door,
I would invite you in. I would ask you to sit
on the light green couch and sit down beside you.
I hope I would offer you tea with milk or honey,
let you choose which mug you like best.
I hope I would not answer the phone,
would not worry about the work not being done,
would not think of the list as it lengthened.
I hope I could sit with you and listen.
Could look you in the eye. Could notice
how the position of my body
naturally mirrors the position of yours.

But I notice how defensive I am of my time.
See how I label it mine?
Every day, I feel somehow behind.
Every night, I lament I did not find more hours
hidden inside the clock.
Is it possible meeting you is the most important item
on my list of things to do?
What would it look like if you knocked tomorrow
when I know I already have every minute planned?
Would I say, I’m sorry you’ve come such a long way.
I have too much to do today?
Or would I find any closed inner doors
and fling them wide?
Could I find the words I hope I could say:
Come in. Welcome.
Here, which mug would you like?

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In each other, let us see ourselves.
            —Alberto Ríos, “Who Has Need, I Stand with You”

Sometimes when I look in the mirror,
my eyes see only my own reflection.

I forget to see the eyes of my mother,
and her mother, and her mother.

I forget to see the eyes of my sisters
who live in other towns, other countries.

I forget to see the eyes of my brothers
who teach, who fight, who rule, who beg.

I forget how my heart is fueled
by the same electric impulse

that drives every other beating heart.
I forget how my skin is made and remade

from the same carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen
that comprises every other human’s skin.  

Oh, to remember. Not just when I look in the mirror,
but when I walk down the street.

Not just when I feel drawn to another,
but also when I feel defensive, averse.

Oh, to remember the strange and certain math
that seven point seven five three billion people

equal one cohesive expression
of what it means to be alive.

Your hands, my hands. Your breath, my breath.
Your eyes in my eyes. My eyes in your eyes.

This life, ours.

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into the soil

of self




of you.

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that everyone, even the driver in the white jeep

who cut in front of you, yes, even

the elegant woman in the dairy aisle and

the man who seems lost on the library steps

and the child sitting alone on the bench, yes

everyone has a story—fears and hopes

and something to learn and someone they love

and someone who’s hurt them and someone

they long to hold. And though their stories

are mostly invisible, they’re always

more complex than whatever we project

and they’re every bit as real as our own.

The woman in the dairy aisle smiles at you,

and though she is wearing diamonds in her ears,

she looks lonely. Or is it you, who is lonely?

Is it all of us? All of us longing for someone

to truly see us. And that driver you’re cursing,

don’t we all sometimes feel as if we need

to move forward any way we can? And that

boy on the bench, notice the empty seat beside him?

Perhaps you could sit there, too, in the sun.

Who knows what might happen next?

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What if

we spoke

about how

we can’t

speak to

each other,

and by

other, I

mean other

versions of

our selves,

and what

if, as

the words

crashed on

our lips

like ocean

tides that

won’t be

held back,

what if

we realized

that our

speaking about

not speaking

is a

starting shore,

sea water

collecting on

our cheeks.


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