The Star Keeper

He keeps stars in his pockets and smiles through his days.

She walks in her sun, awaiting the night.  It used be that nights

crawled on her, crushed her, spun her to the ground.

But now the star keeper rises with the moon, hangs his stars

one by one across the night sky, just for her.

Half a world away, she watches her beloved sun paint the sky

before disappearing, with colors so deep and lovely, she can

feel them until tomorrow.  Then, closing her eyes, she thinks of

her star keeper and his pockets full of stars.  He is remembering her,

losing her sun to the sea.  A star appears in her lonely sky.

And another.  and another.  And soon her sky is full,

the starkeeper’s painting of night – peaceful, humble, gentle light.

Quietly, she sleeps under his canvas of stars, and he rests.

Stars don’t need words.

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The Tree on the Hill: A Love Poem

I touch you gently, running a finger down your trunk.

You have knots, scars, and holes; I move my hands

across your roughness.  Leaning into you, we breathe

together; I listen to your wooden heartbeat, to the rings

of years you have grown, to each of the grabbing roots

you pushed through the earth.  You are strong.

You faced wind and rain, snow and cold, on this hilltop,

alone, begging birds to sit with you and lend their songs.

Branches bare and reaching for sun, you no longer hold

your blanket of red and yellow, and we both shiver in the cold,

as your fingers bend and twist skyward in a graceful dance

with the wind.  The clouds lean down to hear you whisper, but I say,

“Talk to me,” for I am enchanted by your strength, the turns

of your trunk, and the way you reach for the sky.  You have secrets

you’re not willing to tell me, though I throw my arms around you,

scratching my face on the rough of your bark, your arms remain aloft.

I trace a heart with my finger, turn, and walk down the hill,

stopping only once to admire your grace.

You don’t belong to me.Image

I Found Your Heart Today

I found your heart today, as I walked the shore.

The sun hung low in the early winter sky; it was waiting

for me, light cast through empty branches, subdued,

whispering to me to look among the sand and stones.

And I did, though I didn’t know why.  I shuffled my feet

along golden shore, listening to the songs of shore birds,

as sun touched my neck tenderly, knowing what I would find.

I stumbled, felt a tear on my cheek, and, under my hand,

the coldest stone.  I lifted it up and saw your heart.

Closing my eyes, I clasped it in my hand, but it did not warm,

and the sun left us alone on the sand.  Having no use

for a heart of stone, I skipped it across the water,

a poignant mirror of sky.

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Je Pense Toujours à Vous

I call you to return ~ revenir mon amour~

let us meet on my granite rocks and listen to the passion of the sea.

Follow the Rue du Port past gorse and wild heather, remembering you,

plateaus of open, sweeping toward the English Channel,

where the land ends, where you found me, past my stone walls

wrapped in clasping vines, and golden reaches with rolls of hay, and cattle

who still whisper your name.   My reaching meadows draw wind off

the jagged coastline and silvery sea, fuse it with the pearly sky ~

la lumiere~ a young Monet painted here.  And you fell in love with me,

Le Cap de La Hague.  I felt you lose your breath in me, the way

my lighthouse  watched over you like a guard, with its window

eyes, breaking each angry wave so it would not reach you.  And my horse,

my bay mare, she still grazes the shore grasses and asks after you,

that she may take you deeper through mon histoire.  And I,

mon amour, I call you to return to me, for the light of my skies to shine,

and to see your face of joie when you are in my embrace again.

 

Gracious November

I walked two miles with my eyes closed,

while autumn’s colors crunched beneath my steps.

Now and again I stumbled, but righted myself,

and continued on my way.  The sparrows

listened to my miles and asked, “Why?” and when

I did not answer or open my eyes, again, “Why?”

The path knew my steps well and did not change.

November sheds a gracious scent, knowing

he’s an older gentleman, and I breathed in, and took

his hand, walked on until the circle’s end.  And there

I opened up my eyes again.  Daylight had fled,

leaving me there to greet the night, with gracious November,

my friend.

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disappear

one more voice saying

disappear

join the chorus in my head

disappear, disappear

voices haunt every moment

disappear, disappear, disappear

I listen, don’t eat, or talk, or feel

disappear, disappear, disappear, disappear

I thought I found

~stay~

but it was just another

 

disappear

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a burden too great to bear

take it all back – the angel wings

and garden dreams, the light

i was meant to give. take the sunset souls

and voices echoed, flights through mountains

and paintings. take all of the answers i know

but don’t want, and people climbing into my mind.

and take back reading and feeling who they are,

healing and knowing too much.  move all those

who come to me at night, asking for comfort

and answers,  take speaking with my eyes

and hearing all the time, and carrying light

on a butterfly’s wing.  it’s too heavy to carry now.

no one is looking for light anymore.

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what it feels like to give up

release the last breath

of hope, like a balloon into

the grayest sky. never

return.  deep, heaving sobs

of grief in a hollow ribcage.

float.  no one.  disappearing

led to this.  a cliff.  didn’t even

have to jump.  searing pain

of gone.  a push.  and

nothing.

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Brain MRI, November 2012

Lie down on the MRI table; they’ll lay a sheet over you

like you’ve already died. And when you begin to shake,

the sheet moves with you in a gentle dance of fear, as they block

your head in, snap the cage around your face. Don’t move,

they say, and you will your body to stop its shake. Your head

is still because they’ve trapped it. The table slides deeper

into the glowing tube, swallowing you up like medical prey, and all

you do is close your eyes, hold your breath, and listen

to the sounds of a machine predicting your future.

Because you are trapped, and scared, cold and alone,

you let your mind go, and it travels back to summer days on the farm,

riding horses, raising lambs, stacking hay bales in the sun,

but it follows with a breath grabbing squeeze, remembering days

of being forgotten, left alone, rejected. You are still shaking.

As the machine scans your brain for tumor growth, your head

scans your mind, for joy and love, for when you listened and grew,

created. But it always follows with the haunt of a face, someone

you hurt, or let go. And you are sorry.

The machine stops its banging for a moment. The mind rests.

And then it begins again. It says sunsets are numbered. Are you living

every one? All of the stories you were meant to engage in are not told.

You have a full heart and a broken brain, and you still have not

written down all of the words. You shake, lift off the table, hover in the air.

You’re looking down on the machine holding your body below. Music.

Floating. Voices. Go where you are needed. Love with all you are.

Be light. Believe. The machine goes still, and they pull you out.

The test is over. You already know the results.

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The Woman at the Corner

I noticed you on the corner because you look

just like me, but then I saw your cardboard sign with its

searing words, “Mother of 2, homeless, can’t feed kids,”

and all I could think was your sign was the same color

as my minivan.  And tonight my kids would eat a nice

dinner and sleep in their own comfortable rooms and

play games on the computer and text their friends.  I tried

to look away, but I couldn’t because I saw your eyes, and

they spoke of being broken, and shame covered me

like a spider web.  The stoplight had changed to green,

and I had to move on.  You watched me drive

away, and your head dropped.  My purse sat next to me,

but with no cash, I kept driving, until there were more

drops on my cheeks than on the windshield, and I turned

into the bank, to the ATM, and anxiously pulled $20 out

as the rain fell harder.  Driving back, I feared you would be

gone, and my shame would stay, but you were still there,

sign now on top of your head, on that somber corner, shivering,

waiting.  And I stopped.  I handed you $20, and you whispered,

“Thank you.”  I got in my car, turned up the heat to high,

tried to feel better about that corner, about the spider webs

of shame.  As the wipers swished the rain away, I tried

to picture two kids eating dinner with their mother, but

all I could see was the needle marks running up your arm

as I handed you the damp $20. You will be there

 at the somber corner tomorrow, too.

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When You Doubt a Friend

When you doubt a friend, it’s like

putting a flame to the handrail

of a well-worn footbridge, smooth

and trusting, and waiting for fire to appear.

 

Soon the handrail is useless for holding

you steady; the flame of doubt spreads.

Travel the bridge only down the middle, as doubt

grows hotter and meaner, swallowing more bridge.

 

Behind you, your tiny flame has grown

to devour where you once walked safely.

Remembered footsteps are consumed by your doubt.

No turning back, the bridge crumbles to ash.

 

Quicken your steps to safety, off the footbridge,

thoughts of days of peaceful passing there.

But you put the flame to the bridge.  Look back.

Ash and burned boards float past like old friends.

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Once/Always

Once,

before I knew

that angels listened,

I ran frightened through dark

forests and forgotten towns.  I was

invisible, and silent, and screaming, and

alone.  Closing my eyes to sounds of pain, trying

not to hear visions of people shattering. It chased me,

followed me, lived my life.  And I spun broken, until another

lost soul opened up the light.  And the spinning me settled.

And listened. And watched.  Light drifted in, covered

darkness.  I saw songs, heard the glow rise.

And floating, soaring, feeling it all

in its fullness.  And they said to

find the broken ones,

and fix them

with light.

Always.

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Dreams from You

You appear every night in my dreams,

your hand out, leading me to gardens

of color and scent that float like music.

I twirl around, twist flowers in my hair,

and you smile, as if you know I belong

in this place that you dreamed for me.

And when we lie on a bed of wildflowers,

you take my hand in yours, and the stars

pour into the night sky.  It takes my breath

away, but you catch it and set it back

gently on my lips. I feel every flower,

every star, every breath you dreamed

for me. The night is cold, but your arms

are warm, and peace settles all around.

I wake to find it has gone; cold has returned.

All day I smell flowers and wait for you.

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Broken (72/25)

Enter a place where nothing is as it seems.

Look around, listen, there are voices ~ everywhere,

whispering in the darkness.  Hear them, feel them,

they are broken and scarred, and you close your eyes,

feel that familiar ache in your chest. With your light,

you find crushed souls.  They find you, come to you,

drawn to your openness.  You collect them until your arms

overflow, shining light, filling in holes, whispering song,

but always more come, until they rain down

in an angry deluge over you.  Your light

begins to flicker.  There is broken

everywhere.  Darkness creeps

in.  A hand reaches out,

then pulls away. You

are alone with

all of the

broken.

Go.

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Dark

My photos are out of focus.

I can’t stop taking pictures of clouds.

My clothes are getting bigger,

nights getting longer.

I sleep with four blankets

to keep me from drifting away.

And there’s one pillow under my head,

and one pillow over, to keep things out.

Nights are too long,

filled with bad dreams about being chased,

and falling, and turning to stone.

Places with happy people make me cry.

That’s not normal, you know.

I broke my favorite mug.

My hand dropped it,

and the lighthouse

was in a hundred

pieces.  I can’t

pick them up.

I just sit

on the

floor

with

them.

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