What do stilettos, electrons, onions, hawks and the tortoise and the hare have in common? They’re all in poems that came out today in the amazing ONE ART: A journal of poetry: poems about wonder, competition, patience, resistance and, of course, love. I love this journal and I’m so grateful to have them publish my work!!
While I did not fix
the thing I most
wish to fix, and I
did not do
the most important
thing on my list,
and I did not save
anyone, and I did
not solve the world’s
problems, I did
plant the onion sets
in the garden,
pressed my fingers
into the dry earth,
knew myself as
a thin dry start.
Oh patience, good
self. This slow
and quiet growing,
this, too, is
what you are
here to do.
Turning to Physics
An electrical current
knows nothing of the path
it will take. It follows all paths,
but flows best toward
where it flows best.
It sounds so simple,
and yet the electrons of this body,
charged with my beliefs,
defy nature and rush toward resistance.
How often I try to fight myself.
How often I battle my own current,
the current of the world—
it’s like wading through honey instead of water,
this thinking I know best.
Sometimes, I see how my own resistance
is nothing but a part of the path.
In that moment, I flow toward where I flow best.
In that moment I am copper, ductile, tough,
In that moment, I am so alive with it, the buzz.
I wear my wonder
like old running shoes—
in certain rooms.
I notice how others
sometimes wrinkle their noses
at a blatant sporting of wonder,
thinking, perhaps, I must be oblivious
to the dress code:
stilettos of apathy,
high heels of indifference,
boots of cool reserve.
But dang, this wonder
gets me where I need to go
every mile, even
across the room.
When everywhere I step
is broken glass,
wearing this wonder
is the only reason
I can move at all.
Forgive me, please, when I,
thrilling in how much I love you,
believe you belong to me—
like a book or shirt or a ring.
Writing that short list,
it now seems strange
I believe I own anything.
I know well the unstitching of loss.
Let me learn to love you loosely
the way I love morning,
the way I love song,
the way I love hawks on the wing.
Let me love you the way
I love poems, startled
and grateful each time I find
it is I who belongs to them.
After the Tortoise Won the Race
It was the strangest thing.
She’d never cared before about winning.
Life had been about basking in the sun
at the entrance to her burrow.
Sometimes when she was warm enough,
she’d plod off in search of leaves.
Now, she thought about finish lines.
The feel of the ribbon on her prehistoric nose.
The roar of the crowd as she crossed.
They say tortoises don’t have feelings,
no hippocampus in their small brains,
but she’d felt it, the tug of success.
She spent decades looking for another race
she had a chance to win. None of her friends
could understand. Come dig in the sandy soil,
they said, but it wasn’t enough anymore.
She wished she’d never said yes to that race.
She wished she could race the hare again tonight.
She wished she could stop defining her life
by that one moment. Wished she could stop wishing
for any life beyond the life she had now,
sleeping in her burrow, cool and moist.
Wished all she wanted were soft weeds and long-leaf pines.
Wished she could hear that crowd. Just one more time.