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Inspired by dark and naked aspen,
she’s been practicing emptiness—
perhaps you, too, have seen the way
that barren arms can better hold
the changing colors of the sky.
The less she holds, the more love
seems to fill her, pours into her
like the winter sunset, vast and brilliant.
 
All these years she thought the point
was to be full. Now she marvels
at how resonant she is without
so much clutter—how resounding,
the honest beating of her heart.
 

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Self-portrait as Tenement

 

 

 

So sweepingly pink

the sunset over the city

that it pours

into the emptiness—

not to fix it, no,

more as if to show

what a little splendor can do

when given a place

to enter.

 

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How the old mountains drip with sunset
—Emily Dickinson

Dear Emily,

It was just as you said, tonight,
the San Juans rose and blue,
and in the shallow reservoir,
the herons dripping, too—
I did not mean to startle them
as grayly there they stood,
but on hushed feet I stepped myself
into solitude.
Wing after wing they rowed themselves
into the muted dome
till all went dim—oh dark abyss!—
and we were held as one.

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