Posts Tagged ‘personal responsibility’

I suspected I shouldn’t

open the oven door

ten minutes before

the timer went off.

Is it a sin if you don’t

know the rule?

The cake looked perfect,

when I checked,

but ten minutes later

the puff of white had fallen,

fallen like Lucifer,

fallen into a dense sponge

from which it would never

again rise. Oh angel food cake,

victim of my impatience,

we ate you anyway,

served you with strawberry fluff,

and you, like a true angel,

stayed sweet. It was no fault

of your own that you fell.

How often am I responsible

for the so called failures

of others? How often

do I, in my excitement,

cause more harm than good?

Praise the fallen angel food cake,

that still, though compact,

offered itself to the birthday.

Praise what is good

that insists on its own goodness,

despite adverse circumstance.

Let me remember

the graceful botch,

the redeemable flop,

the crumb yet moist, so tasty.

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It smacks me, sometimes,

how connected we are—

though we draw boundaries,

build walls, fight wars,

call names, and kill. All it takes

is a photo of earth from space

and I’m stunned again,

how much we are in this together.

And though we’d rather not know it,

every choice we make

affects everyone, everything else.

Perhaps this is why I weep

when the woman I’ve barely met

embroiders me a sweater

with a word she knows I’ll love

and then brings it to my home.  

Because it’s proof of kindness,

a confirmation that beauty

not only exists, it will lead us to each other.

How easily two strangers

might become friends.

It can happen anywhere

on this small blue and green planet—

anywhere two people co-exist,

the invitation to be generous,

thoughtful, to think of new ways

to be good to each other.

Each kindness a bridge that spans

the world’s flaws. Each moment,

another chance to build another bridge.

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When my shoulders feel too slight

to carry injustice and my arms

reach too short to hold the world


and my bones are too weak

to carry even a single aching heart,

I walk amongst the aspen and the spruce


and notice how the light shines through

the changing leaves—such radiance,

such golden shine—and slowly


the rational part of me that believes

in doom is forced to fade.

It’s not so simple, of course,


as walking out into the forest.

But there is something there

that grows the soul and breeds


a sense of possibility and tells

the aching heart to rise up, rise up

and do the work that must be done,


rise up and carry with it the light.

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Here is the future,

a line to be crossed.


Someone has tied it

into a noose

with a loop wide enough

it will fit over all of our heads.


Sometimes at night

do you feel its heat

against your neck,

a burning you can’t explain?


Tell yourself the only

difference between a noose

and a lifeline is the way

you tie the knot.


Here, here are your hands,

persistent and willing,

able to loosen, refashion,

forgive. And here is tomorrow,


a line with your name

written on it.


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I so wanted
for you to be
the one to bring
me love and
happiness, but
the world
could hardly
conceal its sparkle
when it slapped
my own hand
on my heart
and said tag,
you’re it.

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for years
thinking you were my jailer
these unyielding bars
today finding the key
in my own pocket

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