Legacy

Once, you made a promise to a lonely man. 

You took him out into the twilight, 

And lifted his eyes to the swirling crush of galaxies. 

“Your children will outnumber the stars.”

His gaze swept the heavens-

Multitude pinpricks of light-

Until his eyes were filled with starlight and grateful tears. 

I stand beneath that same darkened sky, 

But the stars aren’t so visible anymore,

Overcome by lights of our own design. 

The promise is dim. 

One star burns above, alone, 

And I wonder if this might be 

My legacy. 

Suffice

“God is love,”

the Scriptures say.

But “God is spirit”

and his body is not present with me,

only his intangible soul.

I cannot touch or hear or see

and he says I am blessed for believing anyway.

But I long for the animal comfort

of a heartbeat beneath my ear,

an arm around my shoulder, holding me up.

Or to hear affirmations, declarations of faithfulness,

whispered, murmured, spoken aloud.

Not just pages of red letters,

not just tears blurring an empty ceiling,

not just crying out with no reply.

The glass is dim, the mirror dark,

and all I have is a promise,

not yet attained.

I cannot touch or hear or see

but this present distance must suffice for me.

Know Thyself

“Know thyself,” the Ancients said
as if it could be done
I lie here in a stranger’s bed
and dream within a stranger’s head
The battle’s just begun

And as I dream, it seems to me
It would be just as well
To know the bottom of the sea
Know all of every mystery,
Heaven’s heights, the depths of Hell

I look into the mirror’s glass
And see a stranger’s eyes
Where doubts and dreams and shadows pass
Too swift to count, too full, too fast
Each blazes as it dies

Impossible to know my way
When I change constantly
Her mouth speaks words I’d never say
Her heart is quick to go astray
She is so strange to me

NPWM Day 11: Tomorrow is Yesterday

I thought love

would help me not to break

but now I know

that’s my mistake.

I beat myself

against your walls

until I’m battered

close to shattered

I never thought I’d be like this

Said I wouldn’t be this way

But here I am

right in the middle of

who I don’t want to be

Every detail memorized

Played on repeat in my restless mind

Unable to unravel

where I went wrong

again

Always afraid

that tomorrow

will be yesterday

and I’ll never get past it

Never get further

Because tomorrow is yesterday

and I’m defeated before I’ve begun

And yet the sun

will rise, despite me

And I can’t help but

feel a feeble flutter of hope

from this broken-winged bird of a heart

that tomorrow can be different

and so can I

and so can you

 

If

Not every dream comes to pass.
Not every wish comes true.
And anyone who says otherwise
Is lying or confused.
They say, “Not ‘if,’ but ‘when.'”
As if we have a guarantee.
As if the narrative is set
For every life’s story,
And they snuck a peek
At the final pages.
But the only end we know
Is that we’re heading home,
And the one waiting there
Has a place set at the table
And a light in the window.
Whatever happens between then and now
Will be used for our good,
But we don’t know how.

As the Summer Dies

IMG_0316

Life starts anew as the summer dies,

And the moon hangs full over ripened fields.

Rain-damp leaves carpet the ground;

the air is heavy with their passing.

 

You and I walk this far-flung road,

And truths fall from us like leaves.

We tell our secrets before we realize what we’ve said,

And suddenly we stand in the blazing light of honesty.

 

If I could bend my words, pound them flat and solid,

burnish them until they shone mirror-bright,

You could gaze into them and see yourself as I see you:

Stronger than you think,

Wiser than you believe,

Lovelier than you hope.

You yourself are mirror-bright.

 

But like the first leaf falling–

summer’s small death–

I feel the sudden shift of atmosphere,

uncomfortably self-aware in the light of our candor.

Our easy, flowing honesty hitches.

I’ve already said too much.

 

So my words lose their glow,

grow dull and flat and safe,

restrained by the fear of looking foolish,

and you see yourself with your own eyes,

Not mine.

I catch my breath, hold my tongue,

and we walk into the autumn night.