Rumi Appears at the Elementary Choir Concert

with a line from Daniel Ladinsky’s translation of “With Passion”

First it’s the kindergarteners on the risers:
three layers of giggle and squirm stuffed
into rufflesome dresses and button up shirts.

From the back row, Camille can’t see her mom.
The lights are too bright. She starts to cry
and wipes her nose on her purple sleeve.

And on the side, Suki nervously
lifts up and down her skirt folds of taffeta, red.
She is a poppy in a winter field bobbing in the wind.

At last, the director hushes the crowd,
turns to the children, reminds them to smile,
and raises her hands to begin

when Rumi runs across the stage with a tambourine.
“Come stand in front,” she asks him, politely,
but he begins, instead, to dance. “Why look like a dead fish

in this ocean of God?” he shouts and he spins
and spins and spins. And all the parents watch aghast,
wondering whose child he is. And hoping

their own child will stand still. Smile.
Sing in tune. Bow. And in a single file,
walk off stage at the end. Meanwhile, Rumi tosses

his tambourine into the crowd,
claps his hands when someone catches it,
and then picks up a violin.



It is hard
and I like
that it’s hard,
this skating
on skis
as fast
as I
can ski,
which means
as deep
as I
can breathe—
my lungs
they heave,
they heave
and burn
and the chest
and its thigh push
and arm pole,
hips rise
and fall,
and mygod
I am flying,
I’m flying,
I’m one with
the fall line,
I’m governed
by gravity,
in awe
how it works
so faithfully,
I am falling,
I’m falling,
I’m being skied,
there is more
than breath
through me.

After Talking to Three People in India for Over Three Hours

After Talking to Three People in India for Over Three Hours

The new router, white, sits in the window,
and sends invisible signals to my laptop,
and I have not an inkling how it works.

But it works. All the new numbers—the preferred
DNS, the IPS, the sub-something-or-other—
they’ve all been reassigned and all is right

with the flow of invisible information.
There is so much we cannot see,
but we know when it works. For instance,

the currents of love between you and me.
Surely they are torrential. Surely there
are rapids and waterfalls and deep eddies

and glassine pools where on a clear night
the moon would be perfectly mirrored.
But for all this energy, this gushing,

and these places of gentle hush,
not a thing for the eye to land upon.
Though there is your smile and the way

it spreads to mine. And there is the lilt
in my stride. And there are sometimes the tears
with their long silver trails of salt.

I don’t know, I don’t know how it works,
this invisible flow of love. But sure as my laptop
connects to the modem, it works, oh yes, it does.