with what I don’t know about
trees, their loves and losses
intimacies with beetle and worm
higher math. how to curtsey in
and bow out, gracefully
to say no and graciously
yes, these distances between
and how to bridge them. why
a lover fades before your eyes
or changes, or you change. how
to get up every day, new
in the eyes of dog or child
to prevent disappointment.
why words come thick
(fast in your youth, in dreams)
then vanish like the bees
though all the scented flowers
lead like a jeweled trail
to or from your heart—
and all the silent waiting
in one glimmer of nothing, and how easy
—you see—to vanish, to sink in the same
darkness, illogic, as generations before.
no one knows you in your shadowing:
not devil nor demons nor angels nor men
(who wrote you off, and how long ago?)
—but will it be now, at mud’s deep
that you instinctively reach an arm out
to swim, that the air takes your lungs
with all the force of forgiveness?
Resonating with today’s Hafiz read, “To Make You Perfect,” translated by Daniel Ladinsky
Pick the object of your devotion—stomach,
brain—and call it your garden, say it is
for the sake of others; that the fluttering
leaves are your heart; that those twist-reach-
scramble vines growing heavy on themselves
(leaning, leaning) will someday feed thousands.
Life, I am your wholehearted servant. Or—
as much of a heart as I have left, is yours devoted
to shutting out tight these misgivings, which lean
toward a belief that my heart is, in fact,
a dropped glass screen. One minute safe
in your hand, the next face-down on pavement.
You know that sound: sudden, small, stifled apology
for becoming useless. How then the fragments
ingrain themselves, how eyes grow used
to a fractured view.
Inspired by Hafiz, “Pray to Your Hand,” translated by Daniel Ladinsky
to hang up my hang-ups
my why-am-i-heres, not-good-enoughs,
not-determined-enoughs and why
would the world need more dreamers
we talk and you keep asking, but
could you get a job with that? how
many ways to sell my heart, make it more
marketable? i’m hanging up your doubts
alongside mine and hope
i will be less inclined to explode
if i pin on this belief: here is also a way
of being content
Inspired by Hafiz, “A Coat Rack,” translated by Daniel Ladinsky
it is not that kind of exchange—
skill for skill, love for thanks
or even one small word of appreciation.
if we were all the little teapots
of the world—handle, spout,
we were made to be held,
Inspired by Hafiz, “Energy in Sounds,” translated by Daniel Ladinsky
I am famous in these distractible parts
for half-sentences and thoughts un-done.
Listen: It is only a skipping ahead
past the boredom of a thing
once seen. The bloom is off, color fading
by the time it reaches your lips
Inspired by Hafiz, “Every City Is a Dulcimer,” translated by Daniel Ladinsky.
“If I ever don’t complete a sentence…”
stunned, chained—where is this cog in the great machine,
this puzzling piece in the grand design? is my part beauty,
remembering, simple love? how does beauty stand
against a landslide? how does memory shine
in a millennium’s weight of darkness? how does love open
one fist, finger by finger by finger, and then the next?
can the chain be fingers clasped, my one hand holding yours
or the children I give, having built them of love?
Inspired by Hafiz, “The Heart’s Coronation,” translated by Daniel Ladinsky.
“The pawn always sits stunned, chained,
there is nothing but divine movement
in this world.”