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Posts Tagged ‘poem’

 

 

Because I cannot fix her heart,

I plant flowers in the two empty pots

on my mother’s high rise patio.

She’s always loved flowers around the house—

peonies and petunias in Wisconsin,

succulents and larkspur in Colorado.

She taught me when I was a girl

how to deadhead the plants

to produce more blooms,

how to make the snapdragon

open its reptilian mouth, how

to tell the story of Cinderella

by carefully dissecting the bleeding heart,

how to make touch me nots spit their seeds,

and how a few flowers around the home

bring immeasurable joy. And so

I pick out white and blue lobelia and

a soft gray vine and a hot pink begonia

and other flowers and vines I can’t name

and we sit on her patio together

in the late afternoon sun

and arrange the potted plants.

There is something about planting flowers

together that changes the way

you see the flowers—the same way

a soup tastes better when made

by someone who loves you—

and I thrill to think of her

looking out the window and seeing

the bright red geraniums surrounded

by purples and blues and greens

and thinking to herself, wow,

that girl really loves me, and

surely, surely, though it won’t

fix her heart, surely it will do some good,

those draping pink petunias

so familiar, so new.

 

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And as my mother steeped toward slumber,

her thin body wired to monitors,

there, surrounded by incessant beeping

and the red and green mountains and valleys

of pulse and pressure and the slow drip

of IV tubes finding her veins, yes,

there as her speech became mumbly and her

eye lids heavied, my father leaned over

the rails of the hospital bed to smooth

her gray hair and kiss her lips and whisper

I love you. And she rallied a smile and

whispered it back. And there, in the sterile room,

with all its instruments of cardiac measurement,

there was nothing, nothing that could chart

how open my heart, how—unable to hold

all the love I felt for them both—it broke

in the most beautiful way. How I prayed

it would stay that open, that broken, that whole.

 

**

Dear friends, thank you for all your good wishes. After having a heart surgery go wrong a few days ago, my mother was released today from the ICU and is now resting at home, and though she is not out of the woods yet, she is not in imminent danger. It’s been very scary and I thank you for all your thoughtful messages and prayers and thoughts. Rosemerry

 

 

*

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I wonder who else today

in Concourse A

is traveling to see their mom

in the hospital, who else

has a parent with a surgery

gone wrong? Who else

could use some tenderness—

perhaps that woman in green

on the transporter? Or maybe

the young mother chasing her child

on the moving walkway? Or

the middle-aged man deliberating

over snacks? Today, it seems

so obvious that all of us

need some tenderness—

regardless our story.

And so when the man

in 31 C offers to lift my suitcase

and fit it somehow

into the overhead bin,

I almost weep with relief,

but instead I smile and say

Thank you, yes, I need help.

All day, I think of how

one small generosity changes

the landscape of the heart.

All day, I am met with chances

to be grateful, to be kind.

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Simple Tools

 

 

 

for Christie

 

I am so grateful for the rubber spatula,

the way it sits quietly in the drawer

yet is always ready for action—

is game to scrape the walls of the blender

or to fold chocolate chips into cookie dough.

It evens and swirls the frosting on cake

and welcomes the tongue

of a child. In a sharp world,

it knows the value of being blunt;

it knows that to smooth is a gift to the world.

Some people are knives, and

I thank them. Me, I want to belong

to the order of spatulas—those

who blend, who mix, who co-mingle

dissimilars to create a cohesive whole.

I want to spread sweetness, to be a workhorse

for beauty, to stir things up,

to clean things out. I want to be useful,

an instrument of unity, a means, a lever for life.

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I ask the earth

please, a little more time?

it spins on, spins on

 

*

 

finally dipping my toe

in the lap lane, already

I dream of the finish line

 

*

 

a bucket of anything

is best drunk a sip at a time—

even bliss

 

*

 

news from the heart—

it knows how to heal

its own holes

 

*

 

resolving to treat

all my concerns as poems—

now doubt, too, is beautiful

 

*

 

packing up the tent—

if only all habits could be folded,

bagged, stowed away

 

 

 

 

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One Not So Secret

 

 

 

scavenger hunt—

inside every clue

love refuses to hide

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sitting in darkness—

how easily I forget

we are separate

 

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What wants to happen?

            —Joi Sharp

 

 

Today it is the tow truck

that leads me back to myself.

For though I call the driver

and though I receive

a text that says he is coming

and though I have paid

my AAA bill on time, the tow

truck does not arrive.

Though I did everything right.

Though the same actions have worked before.

Still the world has not turned out

the way I expected, the way

I want it to. The car

is still stranded. The tow truck

is still not here. Oh failure,

how clearly it shows my attachment

to outcome. How clearly it

shows me the world is in charge.

I look for more doors to knock on,

try to plan more ways to control.

Meanwhile, I am the door.

Meanwhile, this chance

to let go.

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Pulling the long red radish bulbs

from the garden, I marvel

at their pinkness, rub off the dirt,

bite into the crisp white flesh.

There are few tastes that bite

just right this way—make the mouth

happy to be a mouth and it teaches me,

without trying, that sometimes

when we wait too long,

a thing turns bitter. But oh, get

the timing right, my god, it’s sweet.

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One Slowing

 

 

braiding white daisies

to make a misshapen crown—

living blossom to blossom

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