of a piece

it’s building      inside her:

a steep–sharp that can’t find its way out.

it will devour her either way.

 

sometimes she doesn’t shower for days.

she doesn’t want to be any where near

godliness.

 

she has to let it break down,

escape through her

blood, sex, waste ; eyes, pores, mouth.

 

but first she must shatter:

let the pieces conspire to make

the long trek     across    her flat heart.

 

she knows that death

is just another death,

is just another       revolving door.

 

after that we become

myth; fly in and out of

bodies, species, truth.

 

she’s been running her whole life

and is still not equipped:

but any one can fall off a cliff.

 

she waits for the wolves

to come into her scent;

she and it and they are strong.

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gray squirrel in winter (for mary)

 

the trees are bare and

giving up some of their

secrets. i watch a gray

squirrel run: up, down;

 

up, down; burnt orange

leaves in his mouth. he moves

like a giant inchworm, his

quick legs leading as his

 

thick rolls follow. he has

chosen a thin, crooked oak

amid the pines and poplars.

she sways just a bit, unlike her

 

straighter neighbor, who can

sway a foot or more when

the big winds come. as his small

body scurries, hugs the gray-

 

brown bark, i wonder if he’s aware

of the rising sun behind him;

of the glow beyond the mountains;

of the great height of the tree—

 

so focused is he

on growing that dark

clump in the

small fork.

 

his agility and

grace repeat as he

leaps from the

middle of one

 

tree to the

top of the

next, caught

in the abundant orange.

 

i wonder if he’s counting:

steps, trips, leaves; if he’s full—of

angst, joy, dreams. or maybe

that’s just me. at the end

 

of the day, he will curl

into his bed of acorns

and leaves, rocked

to sleep by the wind.

 

I discovered after writing and posting this poem that January 21 is National Squirrel Appreciation Day. I mean, that’s just crazy.  I never knew such a day even existed. I think Mary Oliver had something to do with this little joke. ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

light

we think of light as light,

but it can be heavy,

 

carried for decade-miles

inside these lantern bodies.

 

these machines with breath

are a bliss and a burden:

 

they flutter like compass

needles,

 

toward each other,

away;

 

toward truth,

away.

 

they blunder,

belie their divinity,

 

seek to fly off

the face.

 

only time will tell;

only clichés will fall away.

 

for now, this is the way

to the bird bath,

 

to the fat strawberries

along the wire fence,

 

to the fatter blackberries

along the tree line.

 

i listen to my self

falling asleep and

 

each breath is like god moss

cradling my head.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

wish

 

the night music plays

as blades come and go.

 

far from the shore, the crowd,

one pair pirouettes—

 

drills down.

 

at the coldest point of the year,

when the thick ice has lain down

 

its frozen arms for miles,

far beneath the creaking layers,

 

my heart leaps at your joy.

 

i am also alone, but buried by winter.

i am a knot in the dark:

 

deeper than a river,

and stiller.

 

i see silhouettes of you—up through the thinnest spots:

the world’s floor; my ceiling.

 

my tiny windows of light

are your risk.

 

i listen for the crack.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Empty Nest

It is so quiet. I look around at all the things in the exact same place I left them last night. Nothing is missing from my medicine cabinet, from my bedside table, from my closet. There are no shoes, clothes, or dishes strewn around the room.

Sometimes I forget and think she’s just sleeping in the next room. Sleeping well into the afternoon, like she used to, until I would go stir her awake with a squish or the cat or toasting waffles.

Sometimes it feels like she’s gone for good. Like she has died. And I have to squeeze my arms around my body and tell myself: No, god forbid. She is just gone into her own cave for a time.

I’ve heard the term empty nest for years, and it never really meant much to me. I always thought, if I ever get to the point when she’s ready to leave home, I will be happy in the thought that I did my job, and that she has launched successfully—whatever that means. Hopefully it will mean that she has finally finished school, and we will celebrate!

What I didn’t realize is that after the graduation and celebration and milestone after exciting milestone, it would creep up on me slowly and silently: while folding laundry and realizing it is only my clothes; while washing the dishes only I used; while wandering alone around Marshall’s and wondering why it’s no longer fun to poke through the endless knickknacks; while trying to sleep but waking continually with a void deep inside my body as if I’m missing her presence in my womb.

The feeling is indescribable. It’s the first time you realize deep in your gut how attached you have been to your child; how much of your life has been devoted to bringing her into the world and introducing each to the other; how unsure you are of who you are without her there, inside the nest, pressing up against and under your body.

From the outside, this may seem to some like a desperate dependence or unhealthy reliance. But the feelings I am having—as I sit here looking out the window from this new home I recently acquired to share with my daughter—are feelings of pure love; deep knowledge that I have grown so close to another being that I can feel the body of her absence beside me, against me, within me. And it is a feeling of profound gratitude. Because I know real love is laced with melancholy—with the awareness, but also the transcendence, of the fleeting of time. And because I know she feels the same; I know she carries my presence in and beside and around her every day. We are forever connected. And nothing can ever change that; no one can ever take that away.

 

 

 

a love like that

the rain is falling fast

outside my balcony.

 

i always leave the door

cracked just a bit:

 

you never know what

may need to come in.

 

every time i look out,

the view is different.

 

i want a love like that.

 

change and beauty

in perpetuity;

 

underbellies filling with flowers;

two: traversing eternity.

 

but first, you need to leave the house.

 

as you take on the monster mountain,

your gifts will not fail you.

 

the tree line is true;

she wraps ‘round,

 

she knows the way.

just above, the weather

 

has his say: he could start a storm,

or dissipate into nothing.

 

you need to find out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

rolling

let me know when you’re passing through;

i don’t want to miss you.

 

we’ve already missed so much:

the blue-grey felt, the touch

 

of memory, days spent

punching a clock

 

as if it’s to blame.

how can love be a

 

game of chance? of fate?

an unformed baby falling down

 

basement steps; a balcony door

cracking open.

 

must i attend the funeral

of this fetus?

 

of that which lives in the womb, but

can never be brought into the light?

 

i can’t seem to give up this fight;

i refuse to look, to see what lies in the

 

coffin, fault-lined with orange lanterns:

a deep trick laughing.