Posts Tagged ‘presence’

Notice his teeth. Know that they could shred you
at any time. Wonder why you didn’t stay on the other side
where it was safe. Remember how boring safe was.
Feel the blood thrumming inside you, how your heart pounds
like the waves on the beach you might never see again.
Pray, though you long ago stopped remembering how,
and notice how faith feels so necessary now. Practice
saying Nice kitty, nice kitty, as if renaming the lion
could change anything. It doesn’t, of course, but
there is something soothing about the tone you are using.
Use the same tone to speak to yourself. Nice human,
nice human, though you’d rather curse yourself
for putting yourself in this position.
Witness how the longer you stay here
the easier it is to breathe, though the danger
is no less real. Now you can even notice the sky—
how blue it is above you, fathomless,
bluer somehow than you’ve ever seen it before,
rising as it does above the golden mane,
the shockingly beautiful amber eyes.

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Even as the snow was falling,

the birds in the branches

kept singing into morning,

easing their bright notes

into the thin gray spaces

between snowflakes.


There are days, imagine,

when the birds go unheard.

And it isn’t for lack of song—

the single note chirp

of sparrow, the bass of raven,

the chickadee’s hey swee-tee.


Some gifts come only

when we stay in one place,

come only when we are alone,

come only when we stop praying

to be somewhere else and instead

pray to be here.







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The day dares me to become a tree,

dares me to root, to stay in one place,

to choose this here, to plant myself in this now,

to stretch down even as I reach up.


But there are gusts in me, and wild squalls,

whirling impulses that swirl and spin

and whisper to me to be current, be flow.

Winds in me that says go, darling, go.


And the day says stay to me. The day

says, find evergreen in the moment.

The day offers me its ground, its generous soil.

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When the cat ran away,

I noticed how she did not move

between the legs of the chairs,

how she did not yowl by her bowl

nor sit in the window. Everything

I saw was where she was not.

All day, I held it close,

her absence. All day,

I thought how she was not here.

Was it true?


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First Thought




Not thinking tonight

of what I could have done

or what I could have said.

Instead, night wraps

around me like a shawl

and holds me close

and says, Yes,

you are here, just here.


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I Tell Myself




Be like a river,

shaped by the past,

always finding

a new way

to travel

the same stretch.

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What was it under the tree
I was hoping for—perhaps
forgiveness, not the kind
you can tie up with a bow,
no, rather the kind
you don’t even know is there,
except you notice you can’t
stop laughing and everything,
even the awkward scale
you carry in your breath,
even that seems luminous,
some small, amusing scrap
of heaven.

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Bright Side

What a blessing
while driving, this
hard, hard rain—
I forget the bed
I woke in,
forget any point
on the map
that is not here.

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She Said

There it is again, the desire
to be somewhere but here,

the hope to find the self in a different room
with a different face and a different

spine, a different once upon. But we
are always ourselves. And it’s never

gotten us there before, this brittle map
to Elsewhere with its thousands of folds,

its distorted compass rose.
Nope. It’s never taken us even an inch

away from wherever we are. Always here.
Though we squint, or heck, even change

the narrator to second person, no matter:
the room you are in is the room you are in,

and it is still your face you see in the mirror
whether you want to recognize it or not.

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that old crow,
perhaps he spoke first
with you


removing the clothes
from my thoughts—someone
left the gate open


out the window
I see only where the cottonwood
does not stand


dew on my song
have I really been singing
this long?

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