Posts Tagged ‘work’

Rubbing our eyes,
we sit in a small circle
in the half-lit room,
drinking whiskey
and eating potato chips,
still high on the glow
of good work,
and for a moment,
I see this night for what it is—
radiant as a Japanese maple in fall
blazing vermillion
against a backdrop of brown—
something so wonderful
it couldn’t possible last,
but my god, while it’s happening,
how astonishing, how right.

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Contact Joy

He cleans the base of the skis
with a fine, steel brush to remove
the old wax, his body swaying
above the ski, tip to tail, tip to tail,
so the micro hairs on the base
will lay down in the direction of travel
on snow. A fine copper brush
cleans it more. His movements
are quick, precise, a dance
that now comes naturally.
The only music is the sound
of the brushes, the sound
of his breath. There is no
laughter, no joking,
not even a smile, but
sometimes on winter nights
I walk toward the light
in the garage and watch
his body intent on its work,
and I feel the quiet joy
he finds in preparation
and the work of foundation,
and his joy seeps into me,
soft as the darkness
that holds the garage,
deep as the space
that holds us all.

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One Dream Job

            for Kayleen
rolling up my sleeves
in this grand beauty parlor—
help wanted

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Even on a Monday it can happen,

you step out of the office

and instead of going to your car

or making another call or running

to the bank, your feet

and legs conspire to move you

toward the woods where after

only ten minutes you are more breath

than brain, more here than anywhere else—

water drips in the creek bed,

sunlight pushes through empty branches,

and at your sides your arms swing

as if they were made for this.

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Push again the small dried peas

one inch into the earth. The gaps

in the rows where they did not grow,

do not take these personally.

Not everything comes to fruition,

but that is no reason to stop planting.

In fact there is every reason to believe

that not so long from now

the sweet green song of fresh sweet peas

will serenade your impatient tongue

if only your hands keep doing their work.

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One Humbling



in seven days

the radish sprouts

push green through earth—


every job on my list today

seems quite easy

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One Inevitable




looking for a place

to rest in beauty I found

a garden needing to be tended

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Goes for Play, Too

There is work
to do. There
always is. Me,
I make up a once upon
a time to go with it.
Add twists to the vacuuming,
hum to the dishes, turn
laundry into lyric.
For you, it is
more like math.
A simple path.
Do this plus do this
equals done. There
is not a right or
a wrong. There are
two, and there
is work to do.

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Mary always shook her head
when I told her I pulled up the mullein.
You know you could farm it,
she said. You can use it to make
healing oil. And Tara, from Texas,
she laughed at my weeding. Told me
how she had dug up two mullein rosettes
to transplant them in her yard.
The leaves, she said, they’re so, so soft.
And the flowers, they’re beautiful,
so yellow.

Every year, the mullein
come back, no matter how fastidiously
I have cleared the field the year before.
How many other things have I tried
to clear with no success?

The seasons are changing, The air
wears a yellowing scent and afternoons
forget themselves. I used to resent
the way things return. Now I resent
and admire them, even
those taprooted thoughts that showed up today,
those ones that I have wished away.

And here we are again. The field
will never be cleared. The work
will always be waiting. And somewhere
inside the despised thing, the chance
to find healing, to see beauty, to feel grace,
the chance to kneel.

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