possibility

Smile like a torn sail, 
bravado can be a
current before ever

just brave,

children hesitate or
tremble, my

own hands, too.

A father’s photograph
on the shelf,
my mother’s plane
she made her symbol, too

though he was first the pilot-

I can hold
without a sound.

I listen to music
when I’m afraid,
place headphones over
what I held onto

of things known before
I became this version
of me, to calm

the old panic
that doesn’t come
too often anymore.

It’s not that I don’t
know how bad it could be,
only that the fear

doesn’t matter, only
joy at the end,
love and

what remains of
your self that fear
would try to

kill.

The fragile cord
hand over hand
formed

that holds me to grief

I say, ‘quiet’
repeatedly
as it tries to
pull

same way the ocean
waves lull into peace
or acceptance, I
tap out

sometimes,
exhausted.

And have so little tolerance
for any pretense,
though I care

a person hurts
maybe because pretense
and lies take energy.

Same old gravity
I’ve always been,
even when John left

because the world was too
hard for him, or my friend
dragged me down the stairs
that night after slipping

something in my drink,
and much later

pounding my feet against
a bathroom door to
keep it closed,

same old gravity
of knowing

what shouldn’t be known,

and I am lighter
than seems right
because of it.

I remember how my mom
was beautiful, but I knew
her haunted words-

she gave me a script
I’ve spent half a lifetime

rewriting.

So let the night be night

slow down and watch
the hummingbirds’
quick hover

their lovely,
brief life,

the dog’s paw casually
upon my knee as
she sleeps means

I am her safety, now,
how I needed for so long;

I want to not be the one
left behind, but I really
think it’s just the way

of life,

and when I ran before,
I became abstract/

temporarily
blurred around the
edges until

I could stop to build
what was needed of myself,

I think it was necessary,
because where I started
wanted to stay an
endless night

and I had so little
to stand on.

Hand that touches petals that
could be violent, hand
that holds instead-

my love will never involve
death of self for me
to stay,

never.

Somehow,
I hold the truths that
seemed more complicated
than they are

where I had to keep
some truths separate
from others like,

a person can have goodness
and be terrible, and
I may love them
though they’re too hurt
to not hurt others:

if looking hard enough
even the people we call evil
or just say, have done
terrible things

have good qualities,

but it doesn’t mean
they are redeemable,

it doesn’t mean you
should not protect
your self as if

you were told
your life meant less
than their own

from too young an age
to know the truth
without pain,

we are encouraged to forgive
before we understand what it means
from people who don't know forgiveness

and we skip over the fact
that love of self comes first,
acknowledging pain comes first.

After mom is gone, I can love
the best parts of her
and the best of

all she gave me

and hold her truth
for her, hold her leaving
before she left even
and unanswerable
questions/
her need to run far
and run often

to persist/ I
hold her
still.

I think I’m a little proud
of my softness after
it all, of my anger
even

that bakes beneath
and makes me
quietly relentless
in things

and glad to have been
the daughter of a
philosopher of sorts

and lucky,
I had him, too
along with the quickness
she gave me, and her
heart like a butterfly,

never needing
any one thing

so I could become all the ways
needed to survive, or at least
to know what I needed to do
before I could know them
reading all the words

that came before me

like what the Stoics strived for
and the very old living in
the cave of a mountain

but my own way
and most definitely not,
stoically.

I could never just trust
what someone said

and asked endless
questions, which
I guess is what happens

when the reality you grow in
is unreliable, and you learn
to trust out of loyalty alone
is dangerous.

The old thoughts
like jagged rocks
tumbling year
over year

smooth,

as much as a tumbling
stone can become
until ready to sit

at the water’s edge to
let the waves do
the rest

is more than enough-
to see then a torn sail
like the possibility it is,

incredibly beautiful

and questions ever simpler
than they could be before,
like is a boat on the ocean
ever truly lost.
Advertisement

seeing the edge of a shape

A calm I first knew 
in the warm sting
of Miami beaches
in the swell of
a wave was

enough to hold
my attention,
thankfully,
a relentless
press.

Could I be free
from chains I was
born in like my
mother and hers
before

to allow them
to break away
even as they
bruise
and clank.

Because this place
can make a person
unable
to feel or see
what is right
in front of them
when the image
blurred

by sad memory
or old pain
seems as real
as it gets-
so loud,
demanding
we remember
everything
to survive

and we
try to carry with
love, without
being angry
and with all
the fragility
still, so

we will not become
the darkness,
we might become
the very thing
that keeps balance.

Some say
this world is soft to
lessen the blow,
and I feel the
partiality of it
limiting-

I cannot
in hand hold
this beautiful place
the complicated petals
layer upon layer
like a chrysanthemum
without holding
the dark, as it is
between each
shining edge
a defined line
showing

this petal and that petal.

And instead of running
from everything
known
like I did at first
like happiness
was a thing
ran into, suddenly
behind a door probably
someone else opened
waiting to be found,

one day, I began to see
in places that
cannot be touched
by perspective
too much like
on a snowy, narrow
pass in the Cascades
where my heart
could still
its panic:
in that moment
a rush of wind
is beautiful
because I live-

I knew to go
looking after
the waves.

And the vast words
held too long
unsure of how
to say them
having not defined
what was indefinable
could split ice
and rock
beneath the places
I kept running

and I would simply
slide
for awhile.

It took some years
to become still enough
that my own shaking
could not unground
my thoughts/

and longer
for the hold
to take place
that is space kept
for knowing things
as they are
as much
as is possible
in any moment
without needing it
and with all
the uncertainty

where I could look
at what had happened,
these chaotic moments
and grief
that could crush
who I believed
myself to be,
to look back instead
with love for the sake
of love and gratitude

that I was myself
all along, especially
in the rainforest
walking, or with hands
digging into the ground
another living thing
having not much choice
in things, like lavender
with its sweetness
for no reason

to give it water
when it would not rain,
part of the learning.

Can you see
where the heart
will survive
by it’s aching,

running to be free
knowing what is
and isn’t worth
staying for,
is as basic as
need of air
if in a place
a person feels
their own thoughts
cannot be trusted

when it is mostly
the thoughts of others
like a sidewalk, broken
but you try to run
and trip.

But finally
to hold still
in the calm of
knowing the dark
as it is, dependent
upon that which grows
and thrives/ maybe
a glimpse
on a mountain pass
quiet enough defines
the edge
of your self

when it is difficult to see,
you have held it.

in caves

Sunflowers
grow | beneath
cliffs, a din heard
in the mouth
small sound
of

roots deep,
stems bracing 
waves that crash
high like a hand
held to the face
with eyes closed
pauses all
of it

here,
some will arrive
by wandering
but it is dark
and so much 
unknown 
to wander
freely or 
consider 
to stay.

We see only
their crowns
as they breach
the unseen,
their beginning
is close, just
a step
into a place
the sun holds
without ever saying,
hello/

we could know them:
their bright faces
petals a happy 
yellow and lovely,
framed in what some
would say is joy 
but they are shaking 
their heads slowly 
no, yet again
with each rising
and setting, 

they follow from
the place they
would leave
if only these
deep roots
inch by inch
would pull
free
-

Did you know 
stems grow in
the night to
the west so
the head can 
sway to the east
at sunrise. The
stem guides

like stars in the
night, desert sky
are persistent
or pollen on
a honeybee
is small 
easy to miss
but irrefutable/

they,
are guided far 
round cold corners
wide, clementine
eye, happy and 
content/ how
the heart
keeps the mind 
stays the heart
to keep on

and the sound 
in this hidden place,
brushing upon
damp walls: the
wind at the end 
of its journey
over wave
and accidentally
in this hollow
 
is song like 
woman who
whispers, do not
let me break,
please but
same way,
rounds corners
and rejoins
the sky-

wandering
you may slide  
cliffside into 
deep ocean,
not seeing
it is a cliff
where waves
will slam 
the mark of
this place,

and will swim
near a place
dry but dark
and cold
when no one
is around
to see you.

Wild sunflower
grow, long 
stemmed
and 
leave, I  
would say
this old cave- 
eventually.
Eye following
the sun even
as it sets with
you, no madness
or sad keeping
of memory but
growing round 
cold walls into
the quiet beauty
one day, of 
knowing nothing
 
of the previously known.


preservation

In that former innocence
a second sun bloomed
in my heart, and I
tucked dreams
and hopes

within my small fist
a moth within-
I held it
tense,
in careful regard.

Sometimes
I would tear, slightly
a ghostly wing
having
no space
in a hand to
move:

I shook or would
startle.

And so I began
when it was night
and I could hear the
urgency silenced
day-to-day

to still squirrel away
each fold of brain, the
tender stomach
delicate bones of a toe/
all beneath my pillow
where I would remember
whenever
I could rest

and today, there
I hold my hand
in sleep, reaching
feeling
something
alive

in my hands.

the crash

Truth is to forget underwater
how the waves crash
beneath the seam

how the waves crash
truth in seconds
how under

the shower I crash
how in dreams I
collide with colossus

and tragedy and conquer/
uninhibited, un-able to
drive seed to

stem. Truth: I forget
to crash beneath
and end up above

the waves in
love thinking this
is who I become now

like summers I swam
between mangroves and hot
sea surging, that perfect

storm on the horizon – I love
so deeply in truth
underwater in the crash
of waves: how the seam

defines if we will live or die/

the crash beneath
stormy skies
and showers:

and how wide
is the breadth of
a wilderness like I.

~how to grace

I have lived surrendered in hope
tied loose like the truth
in my mouth is loose

or a startled face is composed
loosely as a cloud sifts
the light of the day/

it was Mary’s sorrow upon
the backs of ladybugs; that
is a story people told

to explain the mar
of black. to become
echoes

painting poppies on dark
space of nowhere and
nobody, just

the brightest poppy with black
stamen sunk as beautiful
things are sunk in feeling

composed of all colors. How
delight is only found in
in the middle of a

crashing wave-

to live between the surety
and the unknown unfolding