Tag Archives: human experience

How it Ends

The photo of you
sitting in a field
of wildflowers
made you seem accessible—
and the picture
of your body
halfway into Mosquito Lake
seemed to indicate
you lived for adventure—
but the joy in your eyes
as you stood on Mt. Rainier
was in fact nontransferable
to life down below
where love waited its turn
for you to find it
as beautiful a destination
as the mangroves
in Costa Rica and now
the Redwoods are calling
and you are almost gone.








How easily
the sunlit beauty
of the day
goes dark
when tainted
with words
that are not
and bright
like the call
of the wood thrush
in the trees
along the river—
words that
do not flow in
and out of me
the way
this narrow boat
on its course—
that do not
float pleasantly
around me
like I love you—
and I’m sure
he wishes
he could
tell me anything
without fear
of me
going under—
just as I wish
his fondness
for her
have the power
to sink me.






Leaving Home

In the beginning
I would leave the house
feeling as though
I was making a big mistake—
that meeting him in secret
on those winter afternoons
was going to satisfy my curiosity
but ruin my life
if I fell in love with his mouth
and everything he had to say—
but now, every time I leave him
it feels like the bigger mistake—
like I am leaving home
to sleep with a stranger
in an unfamiliar bed.






“Storozhevsky Monastery” by Isaac Levitan, 1880

What I Want

Very little, really.
If one hundred years
is too much to ask
I’ll settle for another
four seasons
as long as I can live
the way I want to live
which is bravely
and in sharp contrast
to the years I’ve
timidly resigned myself
to the notion that
I am the one
who must be reliable
and predictable
while everyone else
spins out of control—
I want everything
that matters to me
to begin to matter—
I want to say no
to a brand new kitchen
and hardwood floors
and yes to the gardens
blooming large
in my imagination.
I want to say yes
to the mountains
that keep calling me
and offering insights
on the importance
of living with less—
on almost nothing.
And nothing
is what I want
from everyone today
because it’s exactly
what I’ve left to give.






Climate Change

You are a bird
so high above me
seeing it all
from your
god’s eye view
and making
fair judgments
about how best
to keep the sky
and the oceans
cool and contained
and I watch you
from below
with admiration
and reverence
while my ice
begins to melt
under your sun
and I am reduced
to burning carbon
and you are the one
to blame.






Telling the Truth

I believe him
when he says
I love you
in the mornings
and before
we go to sleep
in separate beds
in separate houses
because it feels true
and warm and holy
and because
I want to believe
everything else
he tells me too—
but there’s
someone else
who shares his bed
and she believes
that she’s the only one
who has his heart,
which sometimes
makes me wonder
if he hasn’t told her
the truth
because he isn’t sure
exactly what it is—
or how many varieties
and variations of love
it’s possible
to live with
before one of them
begins to feel
like a lie.








Pep Talk

Sometimes it’s helpful
to imagine yourself
on your deathbed
or on a ship
sinking in the Pacific
hours away from shore—
or at the doctor’s office
reviewing test results
that feel like a life sentence—
short, abbreviated, abridged.
Today could be your last
and might as well be—
you are living as if
you have time to kill—
as if he does too—
that man you love so much
you’ve been seeing stars
when you close your eyes—
but you witnessed
a car wreck just last week
and you slid on the same
black ice that flipped
that minivan upside down
with a life inside
crashing into the reality
that it doesn’t matter
how much time
you think you have—
all you need to do is
stop the car, turn around
and drive back
to where you left him
in front of the fire—
tell him your love
is as solid as a brick wall
and you’d like to invite him
to drive into it.






Photograph by Bill Brandt, “Hallifax” 1937