Posts Tagged ‘stubborn praise’

One Unmappable

in the cemetery
new snow—
why does it bring me joy
to see it,
this thin foot path to you

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I count all the Tuesdays, Thursdays
and Saturdays from January to mid-July,
all those days in Florida
when you drove an hour
to dialysis and sat there for hours
as the machines removed toxins
and water from your blood,
then drove an hour home.
I multiply that number times
the number of miles and arrive
at a number that means devotion.
Means grit. A number that means
I will live for you as long as I am able.
Remember, Dad, how no matter
how early you had to rise,
no matter how difficult the drive,
no matter how inefficient the process,
you did it. And every time
you thanked the people
who were keeping you alive.
At the end, when you couldn’t stand,
couldn’t sit, couldn’t lift your own arm,
they took you to dialysis on a stretcher.
When they’d move you,
you’d moan in pain, howl, even,
as they twisted your body
in ways it no longer could twist,
and then, with deep humility,
you’d thank the nurses.
Did you ever see them cry, Dad?
I did. I saw them walk out of the room
into the hall and weep,
so grateful to be thanked
for doing the work that hurts.
Two thousand nine hundred ninety miles.
That was the number for six months.
A number that means life is hard and I want it.
A number that says my body is stopping,
but my love grows.
A number that means, Yes, I will meet you, death.
Butnot yet. Not yet.

PS–I want to honor that my mom drove my dad many of these times, and many other times in other cities–and she, in such courageous, humble ways, was devoted to dad’s health and healing.

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Join co-hosts Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer and James Crews for an hour of poetry that helps us meet the here and now with special guest Mark Nepo. This program originally aired May 10, 2021 The program begins with a few poems by each of the hosts, then a reading by Nepo, and then a conversation between the three about poetry and how it is helping us meet this moment.

This free event is hosted by SHYFT at Mile High, whose mission is to provide all people, regardless of ability to pay, with classes and programs shown to reduce stress and anxiety, move through depression, and create connection.This free event is hosted by SHYFT at Mile High, whose mission is to provide all people, regardless of ability to pay, with classes and programs proven to reduce stress, move through trauma, and create connection. This is a free offering that you can support through a donation: onegoodturn.com/donate.

With over a million copies sold, Mark Nepo has moved and inspired readers and seekers all over the world with his #1 New York Times bestseller The Book of Awakening. Beloved as a poet, teacher, and storyteller, Mark has been called “one of the finest spiritual guides of our time,” “a consummate storyteller,” and “an eloquent spiritual teacher.” A bestselling author, he has published twenty-two books and recorded fourteen audio projects. Recent work includes The Book of Soul (St. Martin’s Essentials, 2020) and Drinking from the River of Light, a Nautilus Award Winner (Sounds True, 2019). http://marknepo.com/ and http://threeintentions.com/.

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