Poem of the Week

For Kim
*"for kim" is not the official title- i wrote this very recently and read this at kim's memorial service friday. it was one of the most difficult things i'd ever done- but i feel it was a lasting tribute to a wonderful girl.*

You were sitting
on the stairs
alone like a patient egret
next to my home
on the third floor.
I had not spied you before.
I knew you lived next door
but had never seen your face.
Words had never been said and
friendly exchanges had
not been made.

I had to sit next to you,
being the curious cat that I am,
and you did not escape like
the elusive fish you had been.

And this is how our friendship seed was planted.
It is very small at first,
it is placed in soil of unknown depth,
it is watered with gentle drops and showers and
parented by two individuals
who watch with avarice:
a plant so mysterious,
perpetual blossoms and fruits,
blooming and falling and blooming again,
growing stronger with each flower fallen and
each new leaf unfolding.

The fruit of this plant is curious.
On it grows a heart for each person,
a brain, a soul, and a perfume of emotions
that we are allowed to pick, bite into,
enjoy, caress, polish, and put back.
The fruit is pure and fresh.
And it will always grow back no matter
How much you consume.

When you left for California I felt a
great change in the plant.
On the morning you left
I saw your car stuffed like Noah's Ark
and you had such a Cheshire Cat smile that
I couldn't help but think,
"I will know Kim no matter where she is."

And once you were gone I checked the plant.
All of the fruits were there.
But I still felt as though you
had taken something from it.
I found four branches that had been cut,
ever so carefully, as a father
would cut his son's hair.

So this is where the splicing begins.
This is where you make new plants in California.
This is where new people
have the joy of seed planting and
harvesting your friendship.
New plants spliced from
our plant, connecting us all.

In my greed, with you in California,
I continued to check the plant,
nurtured it as we talked on the phone,
when I visited you in San Francisco...
It is so strong!
How does it grow so tall?
I dug my fingers in the bed of soil
and found roots so deep, so strong,
and felt them pulsating, felt them
surrounding rocks
and digging, rushing away just as I touched them.
My arm was not long enough to find
how deep these roots were growing,
it is as if they are infinite.

And so you, my excited scientist,
always saying, "isn't that cool?"
You, never letting down from an argument,
unless you knew, of course, sometimes, that
I was right.
Your sister Keathe said that
you are a "spitfire" and I laugh out loud!
You denounced those awful protesters at the parade
with a Rosie the Riveter fist,
you shoved away the buzzing barflies one armed,
you protected my heart, my soul, my body.
You were so strong in that little package.

I've told many people that your brain
was too big for that body,
that your energy needed to escape
from that prison.
There was nothing on earth that you
couldn't unpuzzle unless you created
the mystery yourself.

So I enter our garden,
afraid to see our plant,
afraid that somehow it has
changed into something unfamiliar.
I am astounded to see that it has grown.
It is so tall that I cannot see the top.
It is covered in song, in faces I know and
faces I have yet to meet,
in wiggling fish, in cute blue dresses,
in dragonflies and teddy bears,
in dogs and campfires,
in sisters and brothers,
in moms and dads.
And I find that I am climbing it,
I am so high that I can see Texas,
I can see California,
I can see North and South America.
I have just climbed past the moon,
Past Jupiter, past Neptune,
Pluto and Charon dance alongside the twisting plant,
I'm passing spinning galaxies, flashing suns,
whispering nebulas, speeding comets...
This plant has grown so tall!

And here is where it stops.
Green stairs, red brick,
and three stories of concrete steps.
And I see you
on those stairs again, though
this time not alone.
Not at all.
You've met God now.
You are both conversing
as scientists would.
You're thrilled.
Your cheeks are pink and eyes as
large as Saturn.
It's the biggest science experiment of them all.
And it does not end. It is the science of love. Of freedom.

- Saturday, June 12, 2004

*FYI - i title nearly everything. this is a work in progress i thought i'd share for the start of june. enjoy. i'm accepting comments and critiques... don't be shy.*

Trust is a soft thing.
A slug, an old avocado.
But we put our steel into it.
Our soothing fires,
Our misguided birds.
We like trust, don't we?

"I love you."
"You are the only one."
Oh, those words
like sharp pine needles,
a quick gust of wind.
And doubt cowers,
it folds!

I'm thinking lately
that once trust is embedded
like diamonds or topaz
that it shakes like
the tired earth from where
it was ripped,
foundation torn,

No matter our small investments,
our stony homes,
our four-wheel-drive,
Trust is fleeting.

It is a lonely, withered old man.

- Tuesday, June 01, 2004

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