Posts Tagged ‘worry’

A Fearful Heart


Worry comes in like a fruit fly—
slips through the tiniest crack,
a crack I didn’t even know was there—
or it comes in the front door
with something I love—
and soon, worry is everywhere,
laying its eggs in all that would ripen.
Almost instantly, worry multiplies.
Of course, worry would have red eyes.
Worry doesn’t much care the season.
Winter is as good as spring.
And it circles me, buzzes me,
annoys and undoes me,
resists my attempts to be rid of it.
Invites me to learn to live with it.
I never notice when it is gone,
only when it’s here again.

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One Expansion

swallowing the sky tonight—

all those enormous worries in me

now like grains of sand

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All Day, Everywhere I Go




in my stomach

only two butterflies

but oh how they flutter

not finding

anywhere to land

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The Worrier Goes for a Ride




And then, as I was walking the dirt road,

it hit me like a school bus: people

might not like me. I felt the rush of air before

the bumper connected with my butt, and knew

in that moment I could choose to be flattened or

choose to somehow crawl into that bus

and ride along with the jeers and snarls and sneers.

Okay, I said, as I clawed my way around the yellow fender

to the open door, a stowaway on my fear.

I climbed the green stairs and felt their stares:

icy, cruel, fierce. Others indifferent, bored.

I stared back, prepared to feel small.

Hello, I said, waiting for shame. But

that’s not what I felt at all. Instead,

some seed of awareness that I was not splattered

by fear but alive, and now moving in one direction

with this busload of what frightened me so,

And I was not flattened nor crushed nor bruised.

I took my seat. Felt their eyes on my back.

And the bus kept driving along. When it stopped,

I stepped off, surprisingly whole.

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After the Drought



even my worry

decides to kick off its shoes

and play in the rain—

forgetting for a moment

its soggy gray socks

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All the Way Home



Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.

—Helen Keller



Three days after

I think the world

is coming apart,

in the back seat

of the car

my daughter

is improvised

by a song—

I eavesdrop

as she mumbles


to an accidental


change is



is wonderful.

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How I Stay Tethered

I return to the story about the monk

who put everything he owned into a boat

and rowed it into the middle of the lake

and then sank it. He did not give the stuff away,

not wanting to burden anyone else

with things. I would like to take

a red canoe to the center of a lake

and sink it with these thoughts—

why should anyone else need to worry

the ways I have worried on behalf

of the world? My only fear is that

they would displace so much water

the lake would flood and who knows

how many might be hurt then. No, I think,

better to take them for a walk.

Oh those thoughts, like unruly puppies,

biting at my ankles and running off—

and isn’t it like me to call them back

or run after them, afraid they’ll get lost.

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Tasting Them

just as I toss
these ashes of worry
to the breeze
the wind changes

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Turn, Turn, Turn

At six, my daughter doesn’t know
her visit to the oral surgeon tomorrow

is a hardship. She is thrilled about losing
three teeth in a day, just think

what the tooth fairy might bring!
She twirls around the room and hums

a tune that only she knows. I do not tell her
how much it might hurt. I tell myself

it may not be so bad, that children
heal faster. Just last week, she was bit

by the cat and already the wound
has disappeared. I tell myself it is better

this way, the not knowing.
I try to imagine not knowing

how much it hurts when the ones
we love are in pain. I want to save her

in ways I can’t save myself—save her
from the sting of worry. Tomorrow

is nowhere here. For now, there is
this song spiraling out, there is

this spinning, laughing girl, there is
this heart breaking before its time,

this longing to hold something
that can never be held.

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While worrying
about tomorrow,
I make soup.
Sliver the onion,
thin white crescent moons,
and then peel the carrots,
slice them on the bias,
sauté, add dashi, add miso, add scallion,
and boil the udon,
till the whole house
smells of the rich golden broth
and that sharp little mouth
that ceaselessly sings
what if, what if,
is so busy observing
the tang of the ginger—
so pungent, so silver—
it (almost) forgets to insist.

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