This being human is a guesthouse.
Every morning a new arrival.
Today I read that in Italy,
the gesture for mourning
is clapping. Like the trees did
today in the wind as I walked
while I wept, practicing
the gesture for sorrow that I know best.
It was a bird I’d never seen before.
The head so red, the wings
so slight. I did not want to catch it
nor hold it nor cage it nor even
give it a name. I wanted only
to watch it as long as I could
and listen for its voice.
In the drive, beneath the elm,
half a tiny white egg shell,
cracked open and still so soft.
Let’s say fear is a salesman.
And shame would answer the door.
One keeps knocking.
The other keeps hiding beneath a chair.
It was a wild applause.
Leaves and the thin green drupes
shaped like long slender, upside down hearts,
how they rattled like laughter on the trees.
I broke one open with the nail of my thumb
and saw how green the seeds,
how soft it was in the center.
If tears come,
they are a blessing.
Farewell to only
flirting with the world.
Another woman might doubt
that these birds are angels
come to waltz.
I may be filled with gray clouds,
I believe in dancing.
And so I swept the house.
Violently. As if cleaning were salvation.
As if a woman could be made whole
by how shiny her linoleum.
In small, sharp pebbles,
the yolk— a poem
so golden, so rich
I took off my shoes
and danced in it.