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Posts Tagged ‘story’

Lights Out

 

 

We would be tucked into our twin beds,

and dad would sit in the door way.

Every night, he’d tell us a story about a boy

and a girl who were very much

like my brother and me, only they lived

amongst the dinosaurs. I don’t remember

how the stories went, but I remember

how I loved them, how my father’s voice

became part of the night, how everything

always turned out right for the kids

in the story. How much I wanted

to be that girl who rode on a pterodactyl,

and how grateful I felt to be the girl I was,

snug under the thin blue blanket,

our small room a cave where anything

could happen, the low tones of my father

quietly cradling me toward sleep.

 

 

 

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Next Draft

 

Endings are what give stories meaning.

            —Erin Morgenstern, The Starless Sea

 

 

If the ending

is what gives

a story meaning,

 

then may we

never learn what

this story means.

 

I don’t want

to reach anything

like a vague

 

ever after. Here,

take what’s left

of my blank—

 

please feel free

to lose our

table of contents,

 

rearrange our index,

renumber our pages,

revise the tension,

 

and if we

near a denouement,

then my dear

 

let’s have stacks

of pink erasers

on hand, ready

 

to sacrifice any

resolution that might

be goodbye—know

 

I would rather

struggle with you

in the messy

 

middle than ever

arrive at the

end.

 

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Because you are the porch,

I am the rocking chair.

 

Because you are the pen,

I am the unfinished poem.

 

In the conversation of what happens next,

I am always the pause.

 

I am always the pause

and you the verb.

 

And if there should be a run on sentence

that jogged right through the

 

end of the story, way past the end,

well, I would not be the period.

 

But I would be ever after.

And I would be the one still listening after that.

 

 

 

 

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And because she is wise

in the ways the young are,

my daughter, frightened and weeping,

asked between sobs

for a happy story.

 

There are times when a story

is the best remedy—

not because it takes us away

from the truth but because

it leads us closer in.

 

I told her the story of her birth,

and we laughed until

it was my turn to cry as I realized

no matter how scary the world,

what a miracle, the birth of a child.

 

Then, as fear made a sneaky return,

we whispered a list of things we

were grateful for, falling asleep with these

words on our breaths: cats, books, rivers,

home, family, soft blankets, music.

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One Heroine

please, just one more

once upon a time

she said to the night

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The pencil, it turns out,

has never contained lead.

It’s always been graphite—

a form of solid carbon.

How much of what we think

 

we know is just a mistaken story

passed on for centuries?

And the human body, it turns out,

contains enough carbon

for 9,000 pencils—

 

that is a fact of the world,

a fact like the distance

from earth to the moon,

a fact like 99 percent of all human DNA

is the same. I’d like to think I will use up

 

my pencils, one every three days,

writing the story of what it is

to be alive here, to fall in love,

to disagree, to fail, to try again.

I want to write of healing,

 

write of the autumn air,

how it touches everything

with its cool transparency.

Write of how we are here

to revel in beauty, to find ourselves

 

in each other, to serve a story greater

than the one we know how to write,

serve the story that even now

is writing us.

 

 

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reading the book again—

the dogeared pages the same,

the story in them, wholly changed

 

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“Sometimes I draw a straight line

and the other artists tell me

to squiggle it—“

 

all night I re-imagine

our storyline with curves

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Stages of Grief

 

We sat in the round

and rubbed our stories

like prayer beads that

we’ve kept,

 

but one man let

the world erode him—

so naked, so sacred

he wept.

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Rewrite the first chapter,

the one in which someone else

starts to tell your story.

Notice how when you erase it,

all the chapters after it

go blank. Fields of blank pages.

Skies of blank pages. Blank minutes,

blank days, blank years. Listen

for what’s left of your story—

nothing. Miss your friends.

Miss your mom. Miss your old house

and your problems. Go back

to chapter one. Rewrite it exactly

as it was written, but keep

the pen in your hand. You want

to be in charge of the story

from here on in.

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