Posts Tagged ‘secret’

One Hush

between cupped palms
it flutters and tickles—
this secret growing wings

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Family Recipe

All day, I search for it,
the secret ingredient—
something my father
believed in. He always
made stuffing
with something extra,
something special,
then made us guess
what the secret was.
All day, I notice
what goes into a day—
a total of 86,400 seconds,
and in every second
a choice of how
we will meet that second.
If the day is stuffing,
then this day has
some unusual ingredients:
a couple dozen folks
in swimsuits on the sidewalk,
one woman with a dying parrot
she has tucked in her sweater,
a whole garden full of lemon trees,
one ripe hour alone
in the sunshine on a rooftop,
a generous measure of laughter
as my daughter and husband and I
climb a near-vertical hill,
and bittersweet tears
as I think of Dad
and his love of secret ingredients.
All day, the world
shows off its flavors.
All day, I revel in the recipe,
this extraordinary day,
something that can never
be made the same way again.

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What No One Knew Tonight

for Shushana Castle

Anyone with a link
could watch the pixels of her
as they streamed through the ether,
but no one in the world knew she wore oud,
a musky, pungent, smoky scent
that comes from the agar tree.
A scent said to carry prayers.
A scent said to bring serenity.
A scent derived from resin
that appears only when the heartwood of agar
has been infected by fungus, attacked.
It is not lost on her she wears
the perfume of a wounded heart—
rich and heavy, warm and animalistic.
It fills her nose with an olfactory story
that says, I have survived, and damned
if I won’t make of the wound something sweet.
She dons the gift like a secret worn on her sleeve—
something anyone could perceive
if only they come close enough—
there’s so much more than what one can see.

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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 Not So Secret




scavenger hunt—

inside every clue

love refuses to hide

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Come, she says, let me show you

my secret place in the woods,

and she grabs my hand


and walks me past the pond through

the forest and along a ditch

until we arrive in a small clearing


rung with birch and old spruce.

It’s secret, she says, but not

too far away. Will you help me


get it ready? We return with

loppers and a small hand saw

and clear away what is dead. The sun


discovers new ways to touch the ground.

When we leave, the clearing

comes with us. All day, I feel it,


the light as it finds its way in.


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In the bag, the claws

of the cat are growing,

and so is its hunger—

it remembers the rake of grass

on its belly when it crouches,

the thrill in letting the mouse

almost escape.


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X marks each spot where I would like to kiss
you, dear. That’s why this map is full of them,
though I will never show this map to you.
I’m too afraid to tell you how I really
feel, so in each letter I have written
you, I’ve hidden xs somewhere, secret
kisses veiled in talk of other things.
For instance, when I wrote to you about
the xenops on the branch outside our house—
ridiculous, of course. Those birds are native
to the tropics. Or the time I wrote
about the mile-long xylophone? There was
no xylophone. Just one more buried kiss.
I got no x-rays of my hip, nor did
I spot a Xiphias gladius on a deep
sea fishing trip—those swordfish are elusive.
That is why there’s talk of chromosomes
in all my letters, x most frequently.
I know it’s silly. Hiding all these kisses
in these letters to you, none of which
I’ve ever sent. I keep them in this box
beside the map, then hide the box beneath
my bed. And this confession goes there, too,
sealed with a kiss I’d rather give to you.

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Though It Happens Anyway

The secret does not want
to come out of the closet.

It is very comfortable,
thank you very much,

snuggled as it is
into the sweatshirts and old t-shirts

that no one ever wears
nearly forgotten up there

on the top shelf. And it
would rather the closet

stays just as it is. No rearranging,
no digging through the layers,

no taking things away to Good Will.
Perhaps you forgot that the secret

has teeth. Sharp. Don’t worry. If you
so much as open the closet door

you’ll remember soon enough.

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