Making A Fist

For the first time, on the road north of Tampico,

I felt the life sliding out of me,

a drum in the desert, harder and harder to hear.

I was seven, I lay in the car

watching palm trees swirl a sickening pattern past the glass.

My stomach was a melon split wide inside my skin.

“How do you know if you are going to die?”

I begged my mother.

We had been traveling for days.

With strange confidence she answered,

“When you can no longer make a fist.”

Years later I smile to think of that journey,

the borders we must cross separately,

stamped with our unanswerable woes.

I who did not die, who am still living,

still lying in the backseat behind all my questions,

clenching and opening one small hand.

~~Naomi Shihab Nye ~~

“What is precio…

“What is precious is never to forget
The essential delight of the blood drawn from ageless springs
Breaking through rocks in worlds before our earth.
Never to deny its pleasure in the morning simple light
Nor its grave evening demand for love.
Never to allow gradually the traffic to smother
With noise and fog the flowering of the spirit.”

~ Stephen Spender

Cutting Loose

Sometimes from sorrow, for no reason,
you sing. For no reason, you accept
the way of being lost, cutting loose from
all else and electing a world
where you go where you want to.
Arbitrary, sound comes, a reminder
that a steady center is holding
all else. If you listen, that sound
will tell where it is, and you
can slide your way past trouble.
Certain twisted monsters
always bar the path – but that’s when
you get going best, glad to be lost,
learning how real it is
here on the earth, again and again.
~~ William Stafford ~~

The Third Body

A man and a woman sit near each other, and they do not long

At this moment to be older, or younger, or born

In any other nation, or any other time, or any other place.

They are content to be where they are, talking or not talking.

Their breaths together feed someone we do not know.

The man sees the way his fingers move;

He sees her hands close around a book she hands to him.

They obey a third body that they share in common.

They have promised to love that body.

Age may come, parting may come, death will come!

A man and a woman sit near each other;

As they breathe they feed someone we do not know,

Someone we know of, whom we have never seen.

~~ Robert Bly ~~