high in the maple
bare limbs cradle a bird’s nest
small bowl of fresh snow
high in the maple
if you’re still near enough
to hear —
my old friend wrote to say
she dreamed of you
before you died—and in the
dream you moved from pain
to the ocean, a banquet in a room
full of people enjoying, enjoying.
The room, all windows
sheer curtains moving in a breeze
and all the windows facing the sea
Was it you?
Was it true?
Did the ocean reach for you?
And was the feast everything
you would dream if you were
still here to dream it?
How old am I? Old enough
to discover there are no permanent fixes,
no single moment we can call ourselves
Complete. We are held together
with patches and duct tape.
The tape has softened to silk
frayed along its edges, unsticky
where it’s picked up lint along the way.
Let’s pray it holds as we move into deep water.
And if it doesn’t?
A leak, a break in the line that
sews us together,
that sows a line of seeds—
tears and trials and travels
laughter and crowds, books and the quiet
Oh the waves of experience and emotion
the moments we move through, they
roll in and out like tides and storms at sea.
Who are we that these tides recede to?
Who are we that these storms become when calmed?
What ocean are we?
the apartment was an
So I took it.
that the apartment
would take it from there.
boxes of books and bowls,
green trash bags
stuffed with clothes, pillows,
raggedy towels, old fleece
would unpack themselves
fold and stack their own shapes
into cupboards and shelves
While I read a book or took a nap
breathing deep the luxurious
Another weekend at the lake
ends. Laden with leftovers or hangovers,
packed up, sleep deprived,
we launch a return to the daily.
Daily looks dusty and quiet and less—
less frenetic, less enormous
less thick with the weight of lists
Remember the moon Saturday night
so huge and orange on the ground
we didn’t even recognize her?
Now the quiet is softer
the weight and beauty of our burdens rising
from laughter and talk, from listening and
listening and being listened to
“I want you to feel what I felt. I want you to know why story truth is truer sometimes than happening-truth.” Tim O’Brien, author of The Things They Carried, quoted on The Writers Almanac, 1 Oct. 2019
So no matter our mood, how can we claim
to live in a world without magic or mystery?
We walk around for years, we hear and see and
wander with our minds.
Early or late, we each of us bump into them
in libraries or schools, laundromats or the
bookshelves of old boyfriends–
These are people.
They are fashioned from
26 shapes, cousins and courtesans,
shop keepers, a shepherd we recognize
shuffled again and again
into new people with surprising worries,
unfamiliar clothes and wars and weddings,
errands to run and meals to eat while
outside it begins to rain hard
here in this, the happening world
morning ladies walk
laugh and talk in a gaggle,
sweep across our town
overhead, the geese
call and gossip through the sky
echoes snag in trees
all of them, above and below
full of grace, ideas and noise
an urge to hurry forward
with so much to say
to each other