Posts Tagged ‘shadow’

Beneath the Big Moon

I walk in the chill,
and the past
walks beside me,
smooths my tears,
holds my hand,
faithful as evening,
gentle as a shadow.
By the time
I re-enter my home,
it has slipped
inside me again.
We walk through
the door
as one.

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For a few minutes a day
for a few days of the year,
the sun shines low through the window
and casts a shadow high on the wall,
as this morning, when I see
the shape of six chrysanthemums
splayed in diffuse gray
just below the ceiling
and I put down my work to marvel.
It’s simple science, really,
how opaque objects
placed in the path of light rays
do not let the light pass through.
But there’s something so beautiful
and temporary
about the giant spectral blooms,
so I do what the heart asks me to do—
I watch as the ephemeral bouquet
intensifies, then fades away
until the wall is just a wall
and I am just a woman
beside six purple chrysanthemums
who was found by a moment of grace.

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on the brightest day
the shadows steep darker—
winging through them
on imperceptible wind
a white feather

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On a Clear Day

The way the field holds
   the shadow of the cottonwood,
      this is how life holds me.
Holds me, no matter my shape.
   Holds me with no effort.
      Holds my darkness and knows it
as weightless, as transient,
   as something that will shift,
      disappear, return, and shift again.
It never says no to me.
   I am still learning to trust life, to trust
      no matter how I show up, I will be held.
Trust that my life is not a problem.
   Trust that as much as I am the shadow,
      I am also the field.

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My Son’s First Word

He pointed at the grass
beneath the cottonwood tree
and said “dado.”
Shadow? I asked.
Not ball, not mama,
not cat, not dad.
Already at one,
he was aware of both
what is and what isn’t here—
how sometimes the light
is intercepted.
After Finn died, I dreamt
a young boy taught me
how I could help my son’s
transformation by
guiding his energy
through the shadow
of a total eclipse,
a golden corona flaming
about the circumference.
All night, certain I was awake,
I pulled luminous swirls
through the dark center, and
Finn’s energy disappeared
into the heart of the shadow,
into the light beyond.
A shadow is nothing,
of course, which is to say
it is also everything. The way
my life is now steeped
in the shadow of his life,
the way the shape of him
follows me everywhere I go.


this poem has been published in ONE ART

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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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