Posts Tagged ‘question’




in the dark

you lose track

of any lines

that say

you are here

and the night

holds you

like a lover

with hands



and the stars

keep thousands

of secrets

and sometimes

they spill,

and if you have

a question,

it comes to meet you

whether or not

you’ve dared

to ask it.

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Across the yard, below

the cliffs, and just beneath the evening’s

drift toward darkening, above

the river, through the trees,

there is, if you are lucky,

a slender moment charmed

by chance when, if you look up,

the great blue heron

will angle past on slanting wing

and make you question



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I make in my heart a nest for the questions,

ask them to stay, and at the same time

post a sign that says

answers only—

no wonder they fly away.



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This Life


Long strands

of silky







when to

be caught,

& when

to fall through.


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One Unsequencing




the question

hasn’t even been asked yet—

still, seeking the answer

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Sometimes, if you ask
the right question,
and there are infinite

right questions to ask,
then the world cracks,
not in a way that makes

it more broken, but
cracks in a way
that makes it more whole,

as if you’ve been living
in a glass tank without
knowing the glass

were there. But oh!
after the shattering,
when someone asks you,

“Does the universe
act on us or do we act on
the universe,” you feel

in your breath and your
pulse that you and the universe
are the very same thing,

you feel it with absolute
certainty even as your
mind races

to find the place
where the glass
used to be.

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Truth and Dare

a D-poem for Lian Canty’s Alphabet Menagerie

I dare you on an early springtime morn
to ask the daffodil what it remembers
of December. Ask the dragonfly
what it was like to live before the age
of dinosaurs. Go ask the dandelion
how it feels to be despised, and what
it’s like to lose your seeds like wishes—every
single one. Then ask the deer about
the reasons it wore spots when it was young.
The dogwood, ask its blossoms about frost.
The donut, ask it what it knows of holes.
The drum, invite it in for tea to tell
you of the skin it wears and other lives
it’s breathed. Then ask the duck if it recalls
the time the young swan came to live amongst
the ducklings. There is always something more
to every story than we see, yes, something
more than this and that, a hidden door
through which truths pass as silently as lies—
though sometimes truths bounce back like echoes. Ask
the dolphins how that works, how if you sing
the world sings back to you. I dare you, sing
your questions to the world. Perhaps you’ll hear
whatever answers you had wanted, but
more likely you’ll hear answers that will make
your heart break open wider than before—
those are the answers I am hoping for.

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a q-poem for Lian Canty’s alphabet menagerie

It was a funny little man
I met on the street, with the sparklingest
look in his eye.
He said, I have some things
right here in my bag that I think you might
just like to buy.

Now I had a quarter,
shiny as a quasar, and a new dollar
crisp and clean,
and I said to the man,
show me what you have
that I might give to a queen.

First he pulled out a quill.
For just one dollar bill,
he said, and I declined.
Then he pulled out a quail
with a curving crest—
I said, Not what I had in mind.

Not fancy enough for the queen?
he said, and he pulled out
a red and green quetzal.
That’s lovely! I cried,
but please, no more birds.
He twisted his arms like a pretzel.

Okay, he said, you are not
easy to please. How about
some Queen Anne’s Lace?
Though the blossom was fair,
it smelled terrible
and I made a sour face.

How about a queen bee
to make her honey
whenever she wants something sweet?
How does that work?
I asked the man,
he said, Watch her carefully.

Or would she perhaps like
quartz crystals—
how many would she need?
Or maybe a book
of clever quotes—
do you know what she likes to read?

My dear man, I said,
that’s it! You have shown me
the best way to make an impression—
not with something I’ve bought
but with curiousness.
I shall bring the queen a question.

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The End

Dusting the heads
of dead animals,
I think of how much
my father cherishes
this antelope, this duck,
this winged thing I cannot name,
and I understand that it is not
the thing itself that still
thrills him and makes
him want to keep it on the wall,
but the memory of the thing,
how alive it was, how alive
he was in the killing of it.


Over tempura, Pam tells me
of the time that she went
to a man’s home, and there
on the couch was his rich wife,
stuffed, her hand stretched out
in eternal greeting. It had been
in her will, the taxidermic clause
stating that he would lose everything
if he buried her. I sip my sake
and laugh, perhaps because
it is funny, perhaps because
I do not know what to say.


Though it is snowing
the room is filled with slant sunshine
and the light does what light does,
it seeks out the darkness.
I feel how what I think I know
has become something dead,
though once it greeted me
with open hands. Though once
I was ripe with it.


If we’re made of dust
what is doing the breathing?


Not that I want
an answer to that.
Only to be a vehicle
for asking.


In the parking lot,
the sound of geese.
No one could say
it is beautiful,
the strangled song
slicing the cold, clear air.
But they’re singing,
my god, they are singing.

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I curl the question mark of my body
into the silence around us. There is silence

inside of us, too, a pure silence that pools
and spills and overflows making it easier now to not know,

to not even guess what comes next,
and after years of wanting answers and trying

to make the world fit into an equation or an outline
or a calendar square or a rhyme scheme, I am

more easy now with falling into silence, with falling and
not even believing in wings, falling past

the hands reaching out to rescue me as if
falling is a terrible thing. But even falling

is a form of knowing, just a new metaphor,
a new word for path. And even a question mark

knows where it curves, where it is line, where it
breaks, where it becomes a point, one small point

amongst many small points. I am learning,
unlearning, to be less than that.

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