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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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One in the Woods




crooked staves
aspen shadows on snow—
our attention the song

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walking in chill air
beside the frozen creek
warm words

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When we were nine, we’d build

elaborate cities of snow

in the fifteen minutes before

the wail of the recess bell.

 

The boys would outwait us,

and as soon as we’d run

toward the school, they’d

knock our snow realm to the ground.

 

What is it in us that loves

to create? To build worlds?

To imagine a life taking shape?

And what is it, equally human, that

 

thrills in seeing it all fall down?

This morning, without me

lifting a finger, the world

remade itself in snow—

 

everything softer now,

smoothed and linked,

a unified kingdom of sparkle,

crystal and shine.

 

And once again, I am nine,

the winter grand. And once again, I long

to protect it, this beautiful world,

want to give it my imagination, my hands.

 

 

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It is the child of cold and warmth.

It is right it should show up

both cloudy and clear,

this union of opposites,

shaped like a spear, piercing

the silence with dripping, dripping.

It forms itself

the same way it disappears.

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One Not Arriving

 

dripping icicle—

made by the same warmth

that will destroy it

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scraping snow

off the car windshield—

so, too, these frozen thoughts

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The snow was light and the moon was near full,

and the shovels skated across the drive.

 

The rest of the world was asleep

except for the shoveler and her shovels and the moon.

 

The snow was light and her thoughts were quiet,

quiet like leafless cottonwood trees

 

with branches that tangled with the forward moon.

There are nights when though we are alone

 

we are not alone,

nights when the darkness doesn’t seem so dark,

 

nights when our work feels not like work

and we step out of our homes, then out of ourselves,

 

and we are somehow unsurprised

by the way everything shines.

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One Friendship

—for Kyra

 

walking the icy hill

every step a triumph—

and us,

crazy enough

to walk it together

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Reading seed catalogs

on an eight degree morning,

how improbable they look,

those royal chantenay carrots,

those pink seashell cosmos,

those bright sugar snap peas,

so greenly dangling.

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