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for Phyllis

 

 

I remember the day she chose me.

It was fall. I didn’t know then

I would come to love her, didn’t know

how trust would grow, like catnip, like oregano,

more robust, more wild every year.

I didn’t know how I’d been waiting to be chosen,

that she would help me find the wings I’d never felt,

never seen. That she would dare me to fly.

That she would be the wind.

 

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Though I did not understand
what the movements meant,
I followed him the best I could,
let my body move through the morning air
the way his body moved—
white cranes spreading our wings,
standing first on one leg and then on the other,
one hand moving further and faster than the other.
If someone had touched me, I would have collapsed,
but Mike, he was like the mountain
we were standing beside, perhaps
like a mountain with wings.
It was one of those moments
that we don’t know at the time
will be a moment we always return to—
but here I am again, October morning,
cold, dawn light, the sun still crouched
behind the mountain, one of a handful
of white cranes landed in Elks Park,
waiting for the perfect moment to strike.

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for JS

The first thing I told you
was that I did not need a teacher,
and you laughed and told me
I was ripe. Why did I call?
I knew my world was broken
beyond my ability to fix it,
though I still believed there
was something to fix,
and you led me to this place
where all that is dejected, rejected,
crashed and crushed is just
as it is meant to be. And in every
broken moment, wonder. In every
defeated now, possibility. Lead me.
I love how we laugh through tears each time
I see how I’ve fooled myself. Again.
How you make it a gift to be a fool.
I love how you see through
all the veils I have hung and
allow them to drop, no tugging,
no cutting, just letting them
fall as they will until I shine
like a moon in your sun. When I asked
you to be my teacher, I did
not yet know it would be you.

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