Posts Tagged ‘paradox’



The yew can live to be over two thousand years old—

a sacred tree that grows large enough for forty people


to stand inside it. Today, its ancient power fits

in a clear plastic bag the size of two fists and it drips


through a clear plastic tube into the chest of my friend.

In three days, she will not want to move. She will not


want to eat. She will wonder if it’s all worth it.

It will last a week. So strange that a plant


that causes death when consumed will help

to save her life. Her hair has been gone for weeks.


But today, on her last day of chemo, I marvel

at how she is being infused with evergreen


in the hopes that she will transmogrify, carry

in her the mystery that grows in the bark of the tree.


When a yew branch touches the ground, it takes root.

Sprouts again. Let her body know this secret. Amen.

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Hope is, perhaps, a quantum thing,

a paradox, like Schrödinger’s cat,

simultaneously alive and dead.


Today, I wandered the snowy field

and the icy banks and the shadowed wood,

calling the name of my sweet gray cat.


If I could find her now, I’d see

she’s either alive or dead.

But in this moment of uncertainty,


she’s both alive and dead to me.

I’m tugged by both possibilities as I wade

through tall dry grass. Oh damn that hope,


and bless it, too, how just a candle-measure

opposes a whole tower of unfounded certainty,

sends me out into the blizzard


calling her name, listening.



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grief and celebration

share the same bed—

one keeps stealing the blanket

the other

keeps knitting a beautiful new one

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pulling on my mask

as my nom de plume

unbuttons her blouse again

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One Parenting



in the same hand

I hold the rope to bind you,

the scissors to cut you free

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Yesterday, I spoke with KSJD radio in a 10-minute interview about how poems–both writing and reading them–might help us navigate uncertain times. You can listen to the interview here.

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beside the waterfall—

this wish to applaud married to

this wish to be very quiet















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One Prediction



not one cloud

and still the heart’s forecast

is for rain

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One Confession

hold me, I say

then put on a dress

of thorns—

blood on your cheek, your hands,

I kiss you there

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The Way It Is

A woman sits in the park
in the grass, and she is happy.
It is not that she does not know
that all over the world, even
in her own twisting heart,
terrible things are happening.
It is not that she is trying
to pretend she does not know.
It is more, perhaps, that the happiness
rises up and she does not try
to pretend it isn’t there. Yes,
there it is, beside the growling burrs
of sadness, letting loose
all its tiny white parasol seeds
just as a dandelion does.
Some of them fly beyond her sight.
Some land in her sweater
and will not be pulled out,
no matter how hard she tries.

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