Posts Tagged ‘presence’




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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Today God is perhaps like a rash
that terribly blooms
on your leg. Red blisters
on a raised red patch.
For nearly two weeks,
it is all you can think about.
What to eat for dinner and
it itches. The children need
milk and it itches. The sky!
it’s so pink at dawn and
it itches. It is your best friend’s
birthday and it itches. Israel
conducts an airstrike into Syria
and it itches. This is how
I have wanted God to show up—
hand in hand with everything.
I have wanted to not forget,
to not be distracted by the events
of the world, to find God
in the every fold of the day.
God in the tea cup. God in
the stop sign. God in the empty
dish. God in the brush.
This is not what I had in mind,
this pain, this incessant urge
to shred my own skin, to scratch
what cannot be touched.
But it’s working. All eclipsed.
God in everything.
In the incessant tug of it,
the red, deep pain of it,
the calling to bow to it
now and now and now.

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