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Posts Tagged ‘time’

When in Rome




What a loss it would be
to not have born so I
would have missed a
Thursday night like this
in which my son and I
walk the dark streets
in Georgia and watch
the lightning transform
the sky into pink flares
and smell some sweet
unnamable flower and
talk about Dodge Chargers
and knees and roaches—
I swear it has all been
worth it, every second
of fifty-one years, for this
hour in which there
are no bells, no shoulds,
no other tugs except
to take the next step
down the centerline
while in the distance,
raps another clap
of thunder.

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Apricot Wine


for Dave


From this glass of chilled apricot wine,
bottled just days ago,
I drink the long days of summers past,
a potent sweetness that comes
only with time. I drink the memory
of the hands that harvested the fruit,
the memory of patience,
memory of soft rain and deep blue.

If I could bottle this day,
would there be enough sweetness in it
to make a wine I could savor?
Were there enough moments
when I fell in love with the world?
A laugh with a friend, scent of pine needles,
cold shower on hot skin,
and this glass of apricot wine.

Could I learn, as this wine has,
how to let goodness develop,
how to invite the taste of something wonderful
that wasn’t originally here?
In this wine, hints of pineapple, lemon,
plum. By what magic do they appear?
Oh world, teach me that patience.
Teach me to trust in time, to trust
in magic I don’t understand,
to improve with age, like apricot wine.

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It goes so fast, they say,
and clearly they don’t mean
today, which moves at the speed
of tectonic plates, not today
when holding a child
means not holding
that child because
they refuse to be held.
Sometimes, being a mother
is to move at the rate
of fear, the rate
of betrayal, the rate
of loss. Today,
to be a mother
is be ancient
oceanic crust that creeps
at ten centimeters a year.
Someday, perhaps tomorrow,
love will again be meteor,
but today it’s intense heat
at the core. It’s the slow scrape
of two great plates,
something cool
waiting to be warmed.

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even as we devour
the apple
scent of apple blossoms

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Missing My Dad

I hate riding in boats,
the way it makes
my body want to turn
inside out, hate the way
my body rocks for hours
after I’m back on land.
But I love the way
my father’s hands
rest on the wheel,
the way his eyes
scan the waves,
the easy slope
of his shoulders.
He’s so himself,
so whole, so someone
who I’m glad to know.
Standing on shore,
I wave at his boat,
as he points it
toward the deep.
He waves back
and smiles
with great love.
There are many
kinds of oceans—
time is one.
I hate the distances
we keep.

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I am all too aware of that permanent track
with its strict rails of duty and ties of to do,
how it structures my days
in inflexible ways, allows the engine
of time to move only on pre-regulated paths.
 
I would love to lose those tracks of time,
veer off the underlying subgrade
and stroll on foot through the fields of hours
and lay in the lazy tall grass of warm days.
 
Or so I say. And yet I commit
to new rails, new track that I pound in
with the iron spikes of yes,
like a pioneer hellbent on progress.
 
No. I did not lose track of time,
but perhaps I lost track of me.
Perhaps I lost track of you.
Perhaps it is not too late.
 
 
 
 
 

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One Memoir

 
 
these beautiful thoughts
old pages turned yellow
every word still true

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Disappointment


 
Time lost its shoes.
            —Pablo Neruda, “Too Many Names,” version by Anthony Kerrigan
 
 
And if the day
has lost its shoes
that doesn’t mean
it won’t walk barefoot
toward midnight.
Yes, even if it loses its feet,
the day will still crawl—
will slither till its raw
if that’s what it takes—
to make it to tomorrow.
Some days this feels
like a threat, but today,
that certainty, old
and Jurassic-slow as it is,
is the only thing
that keeps me
moving my own feet
toward the next hour.
And the next. And
the next.

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Forecast

In two nights, the killing frost will come.

Because I know this, I wander the garden

and talk to the broccoli, the nasturtiums,

the cilantro. I thank the beets for their willingness

to grow. I tell the onions what is coming.

Tomorrow I will pick enormous bouquets

and fill the house with orange flowers.

Tomorrow I will sit in the garden

and try to store the beauty in my body

though I know it doesn’t work that way.

Please, just one more day, just one more month,

just one more life to try to get it right,

just one more chance to be as attentive

as I am when I know it is almost over,

the basil dark green, the marigolds crinkling with gold.

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            for Merry

I loved to sit on that green and white swirled couch,

loved even more to sit on it with my grandmother.

Everything about her was soft. Her wrinkled hands,

her sagging face, her bosom-y body she was forever

trying to slim. Her voice was cloudlike. Her laughter,

fine gauze. And her eyes ever met me with silk-strong love.

Why do I always return to that one afternoon

when she let me sit beside her, reading her poem

after poem, as if she had no garden to tend, no meal

to make, no hymns to practice for Sunday’s service.

Forty years later, in my kitchen, I’m still with her on the couch,

hoping we’ll stay that way just a little longer.

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