Posts Tagged ‘punctuation’




All afternoon, each time

I think I should hurry,

I pull out a comma,

such humble punctuation,

and invite it into the moment—

and the comma does

what it always does, which

is to invite a pause, a small pause,

of course, but a pause long enough

to breathe, to notice what else

is happening, a slight

suggestion that right here

is a perfect place to rest,

yes, how funny I never noticed

before that the comma itself

looks as if it’s bowing, nodding

its small dark head to what is,

encouraging us to find

a brief silence and then,

thus refreshed, to go on.


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She wanders the parenthetical garden,

each curved stem an invitation to step

away from the trail (remember how the Stoic

said to dwell on the beauty of life, to run

with the stars), and soon she is what some

call lost (Any fool can know, said Einstein,

the point is to understand), and there,

lost in the sound of the bird she doesn’t hear

(Heard melodies are sweet, said Keats,

but those unheard are sweeter), she sits

on the swing of her thoughts (what is it

she is so afraid of) (seek those, said Rumi,

who fan your flame)(how comfortable

can she become with her errors)(false start)

and notices how it is the knots that hold up

the swing (what story is she ignoring?).

This garden, my god, it is beautiful.

She was going somewhere, wasn’t she?

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three breadcrumbs

trailing from what we know

to what remains unsaid

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I keep in my pocket

a handful of colons


to pull out in times of need,

you know, for those times


when I’m just not sure

what I’m trying to say.


That’s what a colon’s for.

It says, “Here’s what I mean.”


It’s a way to introduce things,

and you know how valuable


introductions can be.

Something’s so fine about a colon:


  1. the symmetry, of course,
  2. the simplicity, and


  1. the way that it joins

two independent clauses.


And what are you,

really, my love, but one


independent clause,

and what am I but a second,


ever trying to explain,

interpret or expand


on the first. And that

colon between us?


Two stars in an intimate

constellation. Two points


on a map that leads

only in. Twin cherry buds

on an invisible limb

just before they bloom.


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the semicolon,

ever winking, ever promising

two independents can come together—

a tiny constellation

glittering beneath my pinkie

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