Posts Tagged ‘words’




And when they say, I am going to eat ice cream

until I feel better, perhaps say, What flavor?


And when they say, I am going to cry myself to sleep,

perhaps say, May the night hold you as you cry.


What is it in us that wants to say, Don’t cry?

And since when has trying to stop the tears worked, anyway?


My teacher speaks of the greatest gift:

to give a person themselves.


I think of when I told my friend I did not feel beautiful.

She did not rush to argue with me.


She let me outline my reasons.

She hummed in soft agreement.


Her nods nourished me like a clear lake.

I threw my stones of self-doubt in its waters till it stilled.


So when they say, I feel terrible, perhaps say,

Yes, it is a difficult day. Perhaps add a knowing hum.


Add a nod. A hug if they want it.

And give them their own words,


how they shine like daylight,

bright enough they see, perfectly, themselves.





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Perhaps when we don’t know what to say

we have at last arrived at the one true thing—

and in our thrill to share it with words, dilute it.


It is like the seed, perhaps, that in sprouting

at last understands its purpose, only

now it is no longer a seed.


How easy it is to lose revelation.

Not that it is ever gone—more that it

drops its petals, and we are left


holding an empty stem, trying

to remember how beautiful it was,

failing to see how beautiful it is.

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The words that will change us

remember, perhaps,

when they were first found

by the person willing

to serve them—


they carry in their serifs

a willingness to wait,

late nights of wrestling silence,

the wing of receiving, the joy

in sharing the gift.


When we read them, they enter us

like tiny notes in a score we never knew

we were part of until one day

there is music everywhere

and we are the ones being sung.

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telling you I love you—

trying to pour the ocean

into a thimble

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One Transmutation




sending you these words

to wear like a scarf, only softer

than that, more like song

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Future Imperfect




We’ll catch up soon,

I say, and I actually believe it—

though after I say them

the words stare at their watches

and rush off, late

for their next sentence,

their letters shaking their heads

their sans serif heads,

as if they know

I’ll never learn.

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That’s when the words

arrive barefoot

and not in the tight laced shoes

we set out for them

by the door,


and they surprise us—

perhaps because

they appeared on the lips

via tiptoe,

perhaps because

they bypassed the brain

with a leap—


so that before

we have a chance

to stop the rogue words,

they bounce

off the tongue

and out into the air

where anyone,

even we—

despite our horror—

are astonished

at their pluck,


so naked and

going for it






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Two Nearlys

Two Nearlys

these empty hands—

there was a time

they grasped for emptiness


just before the words

there’s the chance to say nothing—

trees don’t have this problem

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I spent them all,
every single pretty word
I’d meant to give to you,
spent them on the moon,
on a dozen dozen flowers,
on the long drive home,
but I did show up with
these lips and all
this extravagant silence.
I wonder what else
might happen?

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As a bundle of hay, when carried,
becomes heavier and heavier,

so it is with words we swallow.
They begin, light as the leaf

of a forget-me-not, light as
a golden straw of hay, just a hair

heavier than breath. But the longer
the words go unsaid and the more

of them we swallow,
the more they gain weight,

the more they cripple us unspeaking ones,
and soon it is as if we had swallowed a bed

of river stones. Sometimes
we can no longer move at all,

so burdened we become. Sometimes
it takes a complete falling apart

to release all that weight, all those
pent words. No one wants this, of course,

some great spilling. The gaping wound.
The chaos. The words, and the fear

wrapped around them, exposed.
But it is not so bad as we think.

Sometimes, once bare to the sun
and clear air, the words break out

of the calcified layers
and we see them for all they are,

tiny boxes into which
we pack our worst fears, our dreams,

our anger, our desire, our bliss. We open
the boxes and whatever inside has not
turned to dust grows wings,

and our mouths open, perhaps in awe, perhaps
wishing they’d fly back in.

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