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Posts Tagged ‘poem’

 

 

 

Remember, says my friend, to look

for beauty every day. And immediately

 

I think of the blue heron I saw this afternoon

as it flew upriver, its elegant neck tucked

 

into its body in flight, its deep, slow wing beats

guiding it through the curves of the wide canyon.

 

In my chest, I felt it, the rising urge to fly,

the pulsing, the thrill of blue heron.

 

In that instant, I did not wonder

if a moment of beauty is enough

 

to sustain us through difficult times.

I knew only that I had to remind my eyes

 

to watch the highway instead of following

the great blue weight as it wove

 

through the empty cottonwood tops,

its silhouette charged with improbable grace,

 

its long legs dangling behind,

a reminder we all must land sometime.

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In the bottom of my bottom drawer,

my swimming suit hides beneath t-shirts

and mini skirts, all of them wrinkled.

The bikini top strings are untied—

they snake around the dark space

like the sprouted eyes of potatoes.

All this waiting. Somewhere there is light.

The shape of the suit remembers

what it is like to hold things in

and keep things up. It remembers

the way the ocean waves tugged at its knots,

the gritty insistence of sand.

Outside, it is snowing again—

snow on the buds of the lilac tree,

snow on the first green of parsley.

Inside, there is this woman

who has stuffed things into dark corners.

I have nearly forgotten what it is

to be warm, warm enough

to wear next to nothing, warm enough

not to cover my heart with layer

after heavy layer. I am learning

how what is forgotten doesn’t really

go away. The shape of me

remembers how to pull my arms

through the water, how to tread

to stay on top. Outside, the sound

of the plow scrapes past. I am wondering

what else might be in that bottom drawer.

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Come quick, said the math teacher,

grabbing me and my daughter by the hand

and rushing us past the school’s edifice

where he pointed east at rainbow

made of ice crystals hung in the air—

an ice rainbow! he exclaimed—

and we applauded with our eyes

until all three of us ran back into the shadows

to pull others to street corner,

sharing in the thrill that we did not

arrive too early, too late,

our breath coming out in misty curls,

silent, visible prayers.

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This is the path of failure. We see that our definition of success is what is not working. What is working is deep, unseen. —Joi Sharp

 

 

Even a small discontent is enough to shut us down,

convince us that the world is cold and indifferent.

Everywhere there’s evidence of this: The slush

 

that falls on your car seat when you open the car door.

The carrion eaters with their great black wings

that linger beside the road. You pray for sun,

 

and it gets darker. Someone asks

you a question, and you see your whole life

fold into one small envelope of failure.

 

Then one day you hit against the same

impassable wall you always hit and this time you fall

to your knees, not because you are weak,

 

but because at last you are ready to be opened.

Oh sweet failure, how it leads us.

Any unhappy ending is only an invitation

 

to crawl into the blank pages

of the next unwritten chapter.

It was never success that transformed us—

 

always the breaking. Not the breaking itself,

but the mystery inside pushing through us

like bindweed through pavement

 

making cracks in everything

we think we know so that the world

can come streaming in.

 

 

 

 

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Of course the angels fall—

perhaps when leaning in closer

to hear our whispers

 

or when trying to keep up with us

as we dance—

 

perhaps because they wish

in that moment for bodies such as ours,

bodies so full of hope and passion,

 

so alive with risk and rush,

that they trip on their hems

 

and forget for a moment

they have wings, forget for a moment

 

they’re supposed to be guarding us,

preferring to watch as we fall, too,

all of us ripe, sweet apples.

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One Emergence

 

 

 

no moon in the sky

reaching for it anyway—

a siren wails in the night

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When I was a girl, I used to

put messages in soda bottles

and stop them up with cork—

I’d stuff them with the kinds of messages

I would like to find—

you are beautiful

or

you will be happy—

and I would throw them into the lake.

 

I wish I could send one now

to your mirror

so the next time

you found your reflection

and started to frown,

you would see there, bobbing

between your self-critical eyes,

a message surprising enough

to help you know yourself clearly again—

 

sometimes it’s someone else’s eyes

that reteach our eyes to see.

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