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Posts Tagged ‘poem’

 

 

 

And out of the manila envelope

came a new white hand towel

hand embroidered with colorful flowers,

each one a bright celebration

of what a small amount of thread

and a steady hand can do.

Another cloth, this one edged

in a red and white lace crochet,

seemed proof that framing changes everything.

A photo of two women laughing.

A pink ribbon holding it all together.

A pink sticky note, that read

in a neat, old-fashioned script:

To Rosemerry, from Secret Agents.

There are days I can hardly

believe my good fortune—

just when the headlines

are their worst, a stranger

will reach out with a wild

and tender kindness that frames

the moment with joy,

reminding me that I, too,

might stitch thoughtfulness

and beauty into everything I do,

then share it with the world.

 

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One Near a Mud Puddle

 

 

 

this old heart

wrinkled and graying

still learning to walk

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for Phyllis

 

 

I remember the day she chose me.

It was fall. I didn’t know then

I would come to love her, didn’t know

how trust would grow, like catnip, like oregano,

more robust, more wild every year.

I didn’t know how I’d been waiting to be chosen,

that she would help me find the wings I’d never felt,

never seen. That she would dare me to fly.

That she would be the wind.

 

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I was so excited to drop the impromptu Valentine

in through the car window—a white heart

with a big blue eye at its center that I’d ripped

into shape from an old magazine cover.

 

It slipped through the open window

and landed just right on the driver’s seat,

the eye facing up, the heart facing the door.

 

Imagine my surprise when my friend Kyra

told me she hadn’t been in town today.

Really? I asked her, stunned. Really, she said.

 

Because who would think there were two

red station wagons in town with the passenger door

bashed in and the back full of camping gear?

 

Dear stranger in the red station wagon who parked in town,

I know I didn’t give you the heart on purpose,

but I’m so glad I did. Sometimes our mistakes

 

have so much to teach us. Now I know

how I want to treat strangers: Like beloved friends.

Like people I thrill to shower with love.

 

 

 

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By Example

 

 

 

He taught me you can never have too much love

or too much ice cream in the freezer. That it matters

how you shake someone’s hand. He taught me

 

to pile wet seaweed on a bare patch of dirt

so the earthworms will come to the surface.

He taught me how to cast, to set the hook, to filet.

 

He taught me to cheer for myself. Once,

he taught me to say no, and to mean it,

and we shouted it over and over into the phone,

 

our voices a joyful chorus of refusal. He taught me

that despite unceasing pain, you can still

be grateful to be alive. That it is possible

 

to love someone very different from you.

That you can go to different schools together.

He taught me to take life seriously, and then

 

to speak in made up languages and giggle till you cry.

He taught me you can’t save everyone, but

you can save a few. And it’s important that you do.

 

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Communion

 

 

 

At midday, I dug beneath damp straw

and gently ran my fingers through dirt,

and, there, in the kingdom of earth worms,

found dozens of beautiful ruby-skinned potatoes,

each one of them precious in my hands.

 

God knows I have longed to be found this way—

pulled out from my darkness and cradled,

held up to the light with an oooh and an ahh

and a laugh of joy, though I’m slightly misshapen,

though I’m bumpy and imperfect.

 

There are days when I see through it so easily,

the longing to be loved, and I simply feel the love

that always exists, the love that grows in darkness,

that is utterly unconcerned with worthiness,

that feels no need for discovery.

 

There are moments when I can’t imagine

I ever thought I was lost, like today,

kneeling in the dirt, marveling at the beauty

of potatoes, mud-smudged and lumpy,

knowing myself as another who belongs to the earth.

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The pencil, it turns out,

has never contained lead.

It’s always been graphite—

a form of solid carbon.

How much of what we think

 

we know is just a mistaken story

passed on for centuries?

And the human body, it turns out,

contains enough carbon

for 9,000 pencils—

 

that is a fact of the world,

a fact like the distance

from earth to the moon,

a fact like 99 percent of all human DNA

is the same. I’d like to think I will use up

 

my pencils, one every three days,

writing the story of what it is

to be alive here, to fall in love,

to disagree, to fail, to try again.

I want to write of healing,

 

write of the autumn air,

how it touches everything

with its cool transparency.

Write of how we are here

to revel in beauty, to find ourselves

 

in each other, to serve a story greater

than the one we know how to write,

serve the story that even now

is writing us.

 

 

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explicating the love poem—

only later realizing

I’ve been stained red

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Autumn Beside the River

 

 

 

The rocks that were underwater

two months ago are dry now,

and a woman can sit on them

beneath the bridge and escape

the September sun. But she can’t

escape herself. There was a time

she really believed she could control things.

Now she sits with her own brokenness

and invites the inevitable autumn into her,

the autumn that’s already come.

Invites the lengthening nights. Invites

the dank scent of the garden, moldering and dead.

Invites the loss of green. You can’t be

a sapling forever, she tells herself,

though another part of her argues,

Yes you can, yes you can.

 

The river has never been so clear—

every rock in the bed is visible now,

and perhaps clarity is one of autumn’s best gifts.

She imagines the leaves of her falling off—

how she loves them.

She imagines them golden in the wind.

 

 

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sitting with flowers in the garden

until I am

flower in the garden

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