Posts Tagged ‘shadow’


Now, when I am alone
I am never alone. I walk
outside or get in my car
and reflexively say hello
to my beloveds no longer here,
calling them by name.
I love to say their names—
like singing a favorite song.
I love to tell them about
the bald eagles this morning
carving the sky above the river,
about the carrot soup
I will make for dinner,
about how my ears, my mind
and my arms miss their voices,
their opinions, their touch.
During the day, they are
my shadows, always
attached, but silent.
During the night, when
I am part shadow,
they welcome me
deeper into the night.

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Shade Loving

Bless the astilbe, the hellebore,
the hydrangea, bless the lobelia,
the bright impatiens—
it is no small thing to grow,
more notable still to grow in the shade—
to not only grow but to flower,
to bring color to the dark.
I take it to heart, the fuschia hanging
in the shadow, cascading
deep pink bells all summer long.
Oh tough beauty, teach me
the art of thriving in regions
where light is scant,
where light is not.
Teach me to bring to the world
the beauty
I wish to find.

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One Irrational Fear

inside this trembling woman
her own shadow
wildly distorted, flexing

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May I not only see my own shadow
but may I let it wrestle me
the way an angel once met Jacob
then wrestled him till dawn.
May we scrabble and scrap
until I am trembling, exhausted,
until the shadow dislocates what I think I know
about how to move through the world,
until panting I beg it to bless me,
cling to it until it gives me a new name.
I want to know everything
I am capable of—the destruction,
the ferocity, the benediction.
I don’t need to know the weather.
I just want to know that I can meet
whatever comes, even
the darkest parts of myself,
and learn from them,
then limp into the daylight
toward healing, toward wholeness.

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Better Half

After midnight, the shadow
is with me drinking tea—
mint and lemongrass.
It doesn’t mind a spill.
What’s a mess to a shadow?
If there is a question
that must be asked,
the shadow doesn’t speak it—
no, it understands, perhaps,
the only reason
to ask a question is to let
the universe know  
a willingness to not know.
The shadow doesn’t worry
about what comes next.
That’s the concern
of the flesh. When I sleep,
it untethers itself
from my breath and slips
into the night. It doesn’t curse
the light for bringing it back.
It simply joins me as I
do whatever I do,
stays close to me,
like a dream, like a friend.

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One in the Woods

crooked staves
aspen shadows on snow—
our attention the song

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Today the shadows

teach me to love

what is dim,

the sweet respite

of obscurity

when the sun

is too much

and a tree

yields its shape

so that I might slip

my clumsy heat

out of the bounds

of the vertical world

and find instead

a cool dark pool

on the ground,

as if I’m a boat

that has discovered

at last

a slim calm eddy

in which I might rest.

This is perhaps

the way we start

to meet our deaths—

sliding into the relief

of these dark, quiet


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This morning, after the blizzard,

after the sun came out,

there was a moment when the shadows

of the empty cottonwood trees

patterned the snow like tree-sized lungs—

the trunk was a bronchus,

and the branches, bronchioles

that split into twiggish alveoli.

And the tree seemed to say, Remember.

I often neglect to be grateful

for lungs, for breath—

such a simple, forgettable gift.

But in the dividing silhouette,

I saw into myself, a divine branching,

an inner tree, an invitation

to sit and breathe. Remember, it seemed

to say, and I followed the lines until

they disappeared into the light.

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I thought I was Nancy Drew,

a girl who stumbled into mysteries

and solved them. A girl proficient

at picking up clues. A girl who knew

her mission. It felt good to crack

the codes, to decipher the signs.

It felt good to know who was bad.

It felt good to know I was good.


And then I learned some signs

have multiple meanings. That sometimes

a mission gets in life’s way. That

bad people are also good,

and good people are also bad.

And that the solution is seldom

as elegant as the mystery—

secrets unfolding in the shadows.

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meeting my shadow

every day I practice this—

walking in the dark

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