We Talk

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We talk about the way you build wooden boats with your hands,
and the way the sun shines off the water when we canoe across the lake.
And we talk about the snow in the winter and the way the snowflakes fall in the quiet.
We talk about the way that you rode an elephant in Thailand along the side of a cliff,
and the elephant put one foot in front of the other so he kept on the trail,
and the way I went dogsledding in Alaska, felt the dogs pull and heard the trees whisper blue.
We talk about the summers of sun, sand and waves, and how we grew with salt water in our veins. And we talk of our smiles and our failures and the lessons we learned, tomorrow’s plans
and time that we hold in the palm of our hands. We talk until the coffee grows cold and the night grows wings, until the words have words no more, but our eyes keep talking.
We don’t talk about your aneurysm that might kill you tonight, or tomorrow, and we don’t talk about my brain tumor that’s growing as we speak.
We don’t talk about it.

The Star Watcher

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She crawled inside the night to wait

as the sun sunk low, all of her warm

colors followed her down to the sea.

Like music, she heard them go – sun

and her bright yellows and reds – drums,

full orchestra as she bowed her head.

The oranges, peaches, and pinks

danced across the stage, violins echoed

their softer song, and then dropped

with the wind. Only piano remained,

clear and blue, and indigo inked the sky

as day let go – and silence.

 

And, for so many nights, this is when

the stars would come. The keeper would

release them, one by one. He’d watch her eyes

as stars transformed the blue, and the blue

of her eyes drew the stars inside. And in her sky

he’d draw magical things, and that is what

her heart was made of. But one night, the keeper

never came, and stars began to disappear.

Others claimed to see them still, but her sky was dark.

Deep inside her the magic never returned –

a heart without a keeper, a sky without the stars

ones that walk away

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ones that walk away without saying good-bye (good-bye)

leave me shiver the rain (looking for shadows)

reasons like questions wrap me still (you left)

empty trains ride the know (without me)

the bench of the station, cold iron feel (alone)

blankness of silence, fog of your go (I wait)

no words you left, no solace or explain (mined hollow)

just gone, only gone, words secured with you (I fall)

disappeared and all, away, and spared nothing (not me)

These Tears Belong to You

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I never expected winter to carry in a friend,

one who said, “I want to know your mind,”

who listened when I spoke softly,

and heard the colors, too. I was cold,

and you showed me warm, built me

a safe place to release – my alone,

my how it feels to be chased by death,

my real.  You said, “I get you.”

And you did.  Did you get the pieces

you scattered behind when you left?

 

These tears belong to you.

You Call Me Firefly

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You call me firefly, and that means

I don’t need to be a butterfly, and dress

in bright colors and show off my wings.

In the twilight, my glow makes you smile,

and I glide and hover, drift and reach –

around you – as you cherish my light.

You would never put me in a jar, or ask me

to dim my light.  So I land upon your shoulder

to rest, until I am ready to shine again.

If You Held My Hand

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If you held my hand,

those angry storms that rush in

like muggers, and knock me from behind,

leaving me broken and breathless

on the ground-they wouldn’t come.

And the cold rain that stays for days

and bleeds its gray through every layer

of me-it would stay away.

And the ice that seizes me and my trees,

so still and frozen we can snap and fall

to pieces-it couldn’t form

if you held my hand,

If you

held

my

hand. 

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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