Posts Tagged ‘wonder’

The average color of the universe
is not blue, as they thought, but beige—
or so they say after studying
two hundred thousand galaxies—
a fact that makes me stand longer today
beside this tulip as it shamelessly splays
its statistically unlikely yellow and red,
a living manual for possibility—
in all of deep space,
the chance to show up in this garden.

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No matter the day is already planned
to the minute. No matter how pressing
the deadline, the must do, the should.
It takes only a second to look out the window
and see the brown bunny in the brown grass.
It takes only a second to fall in love
with the twitchy nose, the nervous eyes,
the lumpy shape of bunny.
How quickly the known world cants toward awe
when wonder slips in—wonder forged
not from epiphany or greatness
but from the barest instant of meeting what is real.

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The day after you died,
your dad and I stood
on a sidewalk in Georgia
and everything was strange—
I barely knew I was in a body.
I was so in my body.
The muggy air was unfamiliar.
With every sob, I pulled it
into my lungs and it became me.
What I remember:
The sound of airplanes.
The sweet scent of flowering trees.
There were no cars on the road.
It had rained and the night
had not yet come and there,
in the distance, a double rainbow.
I’m a logical woman. I know
what happens when sunlight
enters raindrops in front of me
at a precise angle of forty-two degrees.
And yet.
No one could ever convince me
it wasn’t you, you who had become
more spectral than flesh,
an optical illusion that doesn’t exist
in a specific spot, but, for any who look,
they cannot help but see the real
and radiant truth of it.
To this day, I remember how
those twin rainbows stitched me
back into the world, tethered me
to wonder, to mystery; connected me
to all I cannot understand.
Even now, there are drops falling
down my face. Perhaps, if the light
were just right, one might see
inside them something beautiful.

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Perhaps I thought awe required a symphony
or spinning galaxies or flagrant pink sunsets
or dropping to my knees, but today, it’s as simple
as walking beside my daughter on a quiet back road,
and her ears hurt and my legs are tired and spring
is barely a dream, but on this drab and windy afternoon
surrounded by bare branches and dirty old snow,
I feel it, reverence, how big it is, this love for her,
this wonder for the world, and I thrum
with the great gift of being human,
and the world is vaster, my god, it’s sublime.

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Years from now,
I want to remember
the way tears
became white doves
and flew away,
the way stepping stones
appeared to help me
cross an impossible
river, the way
a crumpled letter arrived
from the dead
to proclaim
I am surrounded with joy.
Oh woman who lives
in my skin years from now,
don’t try to pretend
it didn’t happen.
It did. A rainbow
blossomed above
your shoulder.
Your head opened up
to receive golden light.
Life wrapped its strong hands
around your heart.
And when you asked
your son, Are you close,
you felt against your ribs
a knocking
from the inside.

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I wear my wonder
like old running shoes—
not elegant,
not sophisticated,
surprisingly inappropriate
in certain rooms. 
I notice how others 
sometimes wrinkle their noses
at a blatant sporting of wonder, 
thinking, perhaps, I must be oblivious
to the dress code:
stilettos of apathy,
high heels of indifference,
boots of cool reserve. 
But dang, this wonder
gets me where I need to go
every inch, 
every mile, even 
across the room.
When everywhere I step
is broken glass,
wearing this wonder
is the only reason
I can move at all.

published in ONE ART: A journal of poetry

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Getting Ready

What might you need to let go of or “clean out” in order to make room for wonder or joy?

—Kayleen Asbo, Advent and the Arts: The Week of Hope

Just today I walked

in the shadows

and noticed how

they scrubbed me

the way silence sometimes

scrubs a room.

Wonder rushed in.

It wasn’t that I was trying

to keep wonder out,

it’s just that with my schedule

and rigor, I hadn’t left it

space to enter.

If only with mop

and broom I could sweep

out anything

that would keep me

from wonder, from joy.

Instead, the world offers

shadow, stillness,

quietude, loss,

and a red-tailed hawk

in the heart,

circling, circling,

wondering what

it might subtract next.

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It appears still, the crescent moon,

but it’s moving at 2,288 miles per hour,

its light reaching us in less than two seconds.


This morning, we marvel at it, as if

we’d never seen moon before, its light

somehow touching us newly.


And though we are dashing down

the highway at fifty-eight miles per hour,

watching the moon, I feel something


in me quiet and still. Years ago, a friend told me

it was time to stop writing moon poems.

How to stop when each time


we see the moon, something new in us rises

to meet it? May we always write moon poems,

whether or not anyone reads them.


May we always marvel at the light

and shadow so far past our reach

and yet travelling with us


every day, every night. May it always feel

important, like hope, impossible to touch

and so real, so true.




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One Continuation



returning from the journey,

as if the return isn’t also

a journey—

as if this journey called home

isn’t also riddled with wonder, surprise

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wind so strong

the only part of me unwhipped

is my wonder

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