Posts Tagged ‘place’

In Copley Square, off the Green Line, One Block from Trinity Church

I stepped off the train into the subway station,
ran to the news stand to look at candy,
then turned to ask mom, Can we buy it?
Blur of strangers. Thunder of trains.
Voice of man announcing arrivals.
Heart pounding. Heart pounding.
Where is my mother?
Child crying. Stale scent of piss.
Did she leave me?
I ran through the turnstile, then up, up,
up to find sidewalk, taxis, traffic, sirens,
businessmen, tourists, panhandlers,
and the smallness of myself,
a seven-year-old girl alone in a city
a thousand miles from home.
That was when I learned
you could know exactly where you are
on a map and still be lost.
That was when I learned
how desperately the heart
longs to be found.

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I try not to take it personally.
The country is not for everyone—
lazy stream and open field
and airy glades of cottonwood.
I walk out in the dead grass
and realize how much I love
the dead grass. How much
I love the red stained willows,
bright squawk of jay and scent of mud
and lack of pavement, lack of horns,
lack of benches and stores and street lamps.
I prefer the bustle of birds at the feeder
to any human throng.
It isn’t wrong for him to love something else,
the heart loves what it loves,
though I long to defend the smooth flat stones,
the hawk that even now circles the field,
the mice making arteries through snow.
I wish he were happy here, says the heart,
unable to reconcile the rift.
Across the river, snow sifts in thin white wisps,
escapes through dark red cliffs.

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It’s not because anything special happened.

Though I’ve sat in silence in desert canyons

and climbed iron rungs on overhanging cliffs

and sung in cathedrals and sung in snow caves

and hiked naked through juniper and

washed dishes in inner city shelters

and wandered the cobblestones of ancient villages,

today, sitting on the couch in my own house,

I finally understood with my whole body

how life puts us in the places we need to grow.

And so I made tea. And sat a while longer

with the windows open, listening to my longing

as it wove with the sound of the sprinklers and the oven fan

and I said to the moment, what do you ask of me?

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They say you left your house just once

in your last fifteen years—

you slipped alone through veil of night

to see a new-built church.

And rumor says the moon was full

when you escaped your walls—

you had no need for candlelight,

the evening led you well.

Tonight round shines the Hunter’s moon—

so dazzling is the dome

that all the world feels like a church

and night itself a poem.

Perhaps that’s what you understood

and lost your need to leave—

each room, each place is holy

and has a gift to give.

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