Listening Skills

What I know so far:

In the light, we are different;
in the shadows, we are the same.

It is:

– entering the dark together
– listening a while, and then
– pulling each other from it

that we are reminded of what we knew all along.

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Dark Water

No more winter clothes, ferrying to
the island, nor the pines and willow
shaped as a large turned-up palm.
Among other things shed long ago:

Pulling out the bread drawer and
the one above it to create stairs to
the kitchen counter, at a time when
such a setup supported girl-weight.

When they became too much to care for
we let a pair of rabbits into the field,
but they returned all winter to be fed
and so a bag of pellets was kept on hand.

Bicycling home this week I realized
nine years has passed since I last saw
the first red-breasted robin of spring.
Where I live now are mockingbirds.

Age: you change the locks each morning
with no regard given to leaving a key.
Time moves, releases itself, like it or not,
so I write down what I remember:

Winter clothes and adventuring along
gray rocks spilling into the dark sound
where once we fished for salmon, and
where I’m certain sea lions still swim.

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As the Dog Sleeps

There have been several dreams, most a form of wish fulfillment, even that in which I walked across the room to hold him and found a skeleton under his clothes. The physicality of this I still feel when awake. It is no unforgettable sensation, wrapping your arms around bones.

In waking life I have spent half a lifetime holding men who needed to be held, but I cannot save him now, nor could I ever.

Some years later the dreams arrive less frequently, but after their return last night I wonder how the sleeping brain can recall a person’s smallest mannerisms and micro expressions. To forget would be lovely.

Furthermore, until I woke this morning I did not know that I was still angry. At who? This is what I have sat upon all day.

This morning, in the still-dim dawn I found that the Aloneness I have worked so hard to keep at bay had returned. Early filtered light silhouetted the room, revealing all the possessions that we as humans collect to make our lives comfortable–to feel safe and significant–but even then I began my Sunday weeping, loudly, into my pillow. The dog slept in the corner and the sun continued to rise and time passed as time does.

Must we feel what needs to be felt for grief to work itself out of us? Reluctantly, yes. Not one of us differs in this way and if nothing else there is solace in that.

I write this the same day as the morning it happened and will feel silly for such melancholic contemplation once it is Monday and I am again reading the news and stirring my coffee.

Yes, to forget would be lovely – but while we are wishing that something never happened we can also stay actively hopeful, because this remains a constant: life unfolds and time passes and the dog sleeps and the sun rises and a sliver of the mind says there are new memories to be made.

(written Easter Sunday 2019 after a bad dream)

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Two Halves and a Human

Being a woman,
yes I write about
that which turns life
into the unstable tops
of white-froth waves.

Being a girl,
my mind envisions
when I can next wear
the lemon-print sundress
and with which shoes?

Being both,
I wonder if it is okay
to walk among you showing
both halves of myself
at the same time.

(April 29, 2019)

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At the Piano

It might have me reveling in
Sunday morning and the gift of
a home among mature trees;
together we are an orchestra.

We hold this pattern, each day
returning to familiar notes much
alike, contemplating the scale of
an experience again and again.

Then, changing rhythm signals
life moving into its new phase.
Sometimes this is a yearning,
sometimes resolution. Both.

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Notre Dame

Not leaves, not petals, not seasons:
this we know comes and goes, as do
the bodies of men, animals, the living.
If growth pairs with passing, in our
impermanence did we believe that
what our hands built would last?
Bricks erode to sand, wood to ashes,
colors let go of themselves under
a sun that science claims is dying.
Before then, islands will submerge
as new mountains give rise to nations
destined to fall. One day all this will
whittle down into strata in the rock,
dust in air, circulating, undetected.
But, think of it in such way that we
are grounding and dancing at once,
intertwined with everything that has
existed, returning to again become
the single nameless whole. Please
remember: we are in this together.

(written April 16, 2019 in response to the Notre Dame fire)

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Notes in a Drawer

Some sweep errors of the past under rugs;
I am a corner-of-the-bottom-drawer girl.

Some months ago, maybe five, maybe six,
it became time to no longer bear the weight

that no one means to haul around for so long,
but the mind somehow revels in punishment.

In the hallway, bending to the lowest drawer
where for more than a year hid folded papers

I looked them over once, knew it was done;
had known earlier on but would not admit it.

Where they are now is lost and gone; notes
last seen upon letting down the lid of the bin

no longer hold séance in my home, nor conjur
old mistakes back to life. Forward, now, finally.

(February 22, 2019)

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