safe passage (and happy anniversary to us)

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Thirty-eight years. It doesn’t even surprise me anymore. We’ve been married longer than not, and loving each other for pretty much all of our adult lives (though the adult thing is open for interpretation). It’s a great gig, and we’re lucky to have it. The other night I was thinking that the thing about a long term marriage (or at least mine) is that you know when to leave each other alone. Or maybe that it’s ok to leave each other alone. I know that doesn’t sound romantic, but it’s just the flip side. Romance still shows up (doesn’t it?), but sometimes it’s simply paying attention to each other. Like how I paid attention to Steve’s love for his homegrown lettuce and kale, and am gifting him with the very romantic OXO salad spinner this year. And how if he loves me, truly loves me, he will bring me coffee, silently, and not say a word until I have finished the second cup.

We’re headed, as usual, to Point Reyes to celebrate. A few months ago, I wrote a poem that started out to be about bridges, and ended up being about marriage.  It goes like this:

Safe Passage

When the space feels too vast
between your breath and mine,
your courage and my fear,
or the other way around,
one of us has a map, already in hand.
That is how we’ve done it, all these years.
That is how we’ve crossed the bridge.

What made us say yes, oh yes,
under the oak tree in the meadow
before our family, friends and three dogs
in their festive bandanas?
We were so young, how did we know?
How could we imagine the span
we needed to build and cross?

Yes, oh yes, to safe passage,
a bridge, and the trust to keep going
through this life, and the next, and even the next.

You’ve been my bridge, and I’ve been yours.
We’re not yet to the other side.
Come. Hold on. Walk with me today.

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the forgettables

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The Forgettables

The big ones get all the glory.
Unforgettable moments,
firsts and lasts and in-betweens.
Never shy, always bold,
as they rearrange every molecule in our being.

But it’s the forgettables that matter.
Sly moments, uninvited and unattended.
They work undercover, acting alone on our behalf.

When the morning sun rises, bearing only light.
Long days that never end, because boring isn’t as bad as it gets.
Scraggly grass and rocky dirt that won’t hold a flower.
Dining with baseball for company instead of each other.
A twenty-minute commute for twenty plus years,
without incident, accident, sometimes not even a song.
All the days my daughters are alive.

The taste of toast, buttered not burnt.
The smell of sunscreen and chlorine, many pool-years ago.
The squirrel in the tree, eyeing me, right now.
The feel of a new notebook, fresh pens and a fine enough idea.
The neighbor boys and basketball noise, outside my window on every ordinary night.

The moment you bring me coffee,
(especially) when I point instead of ask,
and you love me anyway.

The forgettables
quietly, reliably, sincerely
rearranging us,
one tiny molecule at a time.

4.10.17


Like the Hawk
 
I heard a famous poet say
the hawk doesn’t ask who he is,
why he flies or if he should.
He’s just a hawk and does his thing
without question or doubt.
 
So why hesitate and deny
who we are and what we do
to survive this flight of life?
 
Why we love or grieve,
show up ready or stay in bed,
all day and the next?
Is it too soon to pry open
eyes and hearts,
too late to shed sorrow
(and the extra 20 pounds)?
Is it the coward’s way to return
what wasn’t intended
for our beginning and becoming
something new?
Should I get the tattoo (maybe),
buy the good wine (yes),
forgive and forget (perhaps not yet)?
 
Why measure and judge
(ourselves and others)
for being human,
flawed and fabulous?
For living too much or too little,
grounding ourselves in fear?
Is it possible (please say yes)
to accept what is,
and simply soar
when the air is right
where we are?

 

4.7.17

Photo by Kim Tackett, Vashon Island, WA

I’m taking an online writing course called Dive Into Poetry, offered by Jena Schwartz. It’s kind of amazing to discover something you thought you knew, and realize there’s so much more to learn.  You should check it out.