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Posts Tagged ‘tenderness’

 

 

Today I wish I were a potato peeler,

able to remove the outer layers of myself,

able to shave off any toughness I’ve developed

to protect, to safeguard, to shield. I want to give

myself to you, the inner sweetness,

the tenderest parts. I want to unpeel

any husk, any rind, any barrier

that would keep you from the heart

of me. I want to meet you vulnerably.

Today I want to take the long thin blade

and make ribbons of my resistance,

make strips of my defenses and watch

them fall like burlap veils. And if I cannot

find the courage to be the one who peels,

let me put the tool in your hand. I’m afraid,

but I am ready. Be sure, love. Be quick.

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How It Goes with Hope

Eventually a burning hope
becomes ember, becomes glow,
becomes gone.
Whatever fuel it found
is spent, is done, is ash.
Not that you blame hope
for losing its brilliance.
More that you become
increasingly intimate with what is.
What is is an absence. What is
doesn’t sit in your lap. What is
doesn’t come to the door.
What is is very quiet.
But there is, if not hope,
a tenderness that lingers,
a tenderness that has a glow
of its own, a tenderness
that you carry with you
until it becomes you,
a warmth, a golden light
there when you fall asleep,
still there when you rise.
*
(note: sweet friends, thank you for all the emails and even the lovely letter about the loss of our cat, Otter. I didn’t mean to leave you hanging. She has not returned, and I am quite sure she met a predator. But my dear friend Jack gave me the sweetest advice: Please, when you are ready, begin to—maybe for only a minute—carry Otter in your body. That invitation a couple weeks ago was the basis for the feeling that evolved into this poem. And here it is, evidence of the small ways that we help each other as we carry grief. Thank you all. Thank you.)

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On Earth, just a teaspoon of neutron star

would weigh six billion tons. Six billion tons.

The equivalent weight of how much railway

it would take to get a third of the way to the sun.

It’s the collective weight of every animal

on earth. Times three.

 

Six billion tons sounds impossible

until I consider how it is to swallow grief—

just a teaspoon and one might as well have consumed

a neutron star. How dense it is,

how it carries inside it the memory of collapse.

How difficult it is to move then.

How impossible to believe that anything

could lift that weight.

 

There are many reasons to treat each other

with great tenderness. One is

the sheer miracle that we are here together

on a planet surrounded by dying stars.

One is that we cannot see what

anyone else has swallowed.

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I wonder who else today

in Concourse A

is traveling to see their mom

in the hospital, who else

has a parent with a surgery

gone wrong? Who else

could use some tenderness—

perhaps that woman in green

on the transporter? Or maybe

the young mother chasing her child

on the moving walkway? Or

the middle-aged man deliberating

over snacks? Today, it seems

so obvious that all of us

need some tenderness—

regardless our story.

And so when the man

in 31 C offers to lift my suitcase

and fit it somehow

into the overhead bin,

I almost weep with relief,

but instead I smile and say

Thank you, yes, I need help.

All day, I think of how

one small generosity changes

the landscape of the heart.

All day, I am met with chances

to be grateful, to be kind.

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Cut Deep

 

 

 

Picking up broken glass

with bare hands,

of course I was cut,

but something in me

was curious to learn

the secrets of being sharp.

Something in me

wanted another reason

to be tender

with everyone I meet.

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in the night air
scent of rain
that does not fall—
sometimes in the kitchen
scent of tenderness

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I like my body in the mornings
when the light has not yet stolen the room,
and when you, in darkness, turn your length
toward my length and bend your body
to match the curve of my spine.

I like the warmth our bodies find,
I like your legs bowed into mine,
your feet like a tangle of roots about my feet.

I like my neck when it’s touched by your breath,
and I like my waist when your hand rests there.
And my belly, I like how soft it is, like sweet dough rising.

So tender, this drowsy, dreamy, yielding state
when we are more flesh than name, more limb than thought,
more breath than what we know.

And the darkness holds us quietly,
your body, my body, oh how we linger,
indulgent, our boundaries blurred,
while all around us, even inside us,
the world with its edges and certainties
begins to dawn.

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