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Posts Tagged ‘paradox’

Meeting Your Death




Because there are no clear instructions,
I follow what rises up in me to do.
I fall deeper into love with you.
I look at old pictures.
I don’t look at old pictures.
I talk about you. I say nothing.
I walk. I sit. I lie in the grass
and let the earth hold me.
I lie on the sidewalk, dissolve
into sky. I cry. I don’t cry.
I ask the world to help me stay open.
I ask again, please, let me feel it all.
I fall deeper in love with the people
still living. I fall deeper in love
with the world that is left—
this world with its spring
and its war and its mornings,
this world with its fruits
that ripen and rot and reseed,
this world that insists
we keep our eyes wide,
this world that opens
when our eyes are closed.
Because there are no clear instructions,
I learn to turn toward the love that is here,
though sometimes what is here is what’s not.
There are infinite ways to do this right.
That is the only way.

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I want a word that means
   okay and not okay,
     a word that means
devastated and stunned with joy.
   I want the word that says
     I feel it all all at once.
The heart is not like a songbird
   singing only one note at a time,
     more like a Tuvan throat singer
able to sing both a drone
   and simultaneously
     two or three harmonics high above it—
a sound, the Tuvans say,
   that gives the impression
     of wind swirling among rocks.
The heart understands the swirl,
   how the churning of opposite feelings
     weaves through us like an insistent breeze
leads us wordlessly deeper into ourselves,
   blesses us with paradox
     so we might walk more openly
into this world so rife with devastation,
   this world so ripe with joy.


*

by the way, friends, if you are aware of a word in another language that means okay/not okay, gosh, I would love to know it

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from sweet nectar
and bitter pollen
all the honey

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Your sister and I finished
this year’s gingerbread house—
not a duplex this time,
nor two condos connected
by a gingerbread bridge.
It’s a single house with angled walls
like in the Jan Brett illustrations.
How can I be so happy and so sad
at the same time?
It’s like being a rose
that has lost all its petals and yet
is in full petalled bloom.

There is, in every moment,
an opening that appears—
and I find I often stand
in the threshold, one foot
in now and the other
with you in eternity.
Then the kitchen
is not only a kitchen.
but a garden.
And every gardener knows
she must grow first herself.
And the baker knows
everything she makes
is made to disappear
in its prime.

And so it is on this night
of decorating gingerbread,
your sister and I use bright candies
and thin pretzel sticks to make
a one-room house
unlike any we’ve made before.
And we laugh. And I miss you.
My petals drift across the floor.
My petals open into wider bloom.

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Made to Love


 
 
That love is complicated
is no surprise—
consider the human heart
pumps blood to almost
seventy-five trillion cells,
and if we were to stretch
out our blood vessel system,
it would extend over
sixty thousand miles.
Of course, things
get tangled and messy.
 
And perhaps, love is also
not so complicated.
Perhaps it’s as easy
as waking up in the night
and feeling the darkness hold us.
As effortless as sipping
sweet licorice tea
and letting it warm the body.
As inclusive as the lily’s white perfume
that touches the whole room.
Yes, perhaps loving is as instinctive
as the human heart that beats
over a hundred thousand times a day—
not because we ask it to,
not because we try,
but because that’s what
it was made to do.
 
 

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Hankering

Today again I thank the arugula

for the way it teaches me

that sharpness, too, is what

draws us in, that we come

not just to forgive

but to crave what is bitter,

what bites us back.

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Docetaxel

 

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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Missing

 

 

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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