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Gethsemane Time

February 7, 2017

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Gethsemane – is a garden at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, most famous as the place where Jesus prayed and his disciples slept the night before Jesus’ crucifixion.

I

Constant twilight,
Constant sound:
The bleeping heartbeat
Bumping along:

Gethsemane time.

Naming the losses,
Watching them grow:
The unknown husband,
The useless hands:

Gethsemane time.

Body morphing,
Mind mutating:
Light dying,
No escape:

Gethsemane time.

II

They sit together, his arm holding her, the woman who was,
and is no longer there
to answer or demand, while
he keeps trying to share:

Gethsemane time.

He talks with his friend, as they speak of nothings
and not of wives; while they avoid
the questions that have no answers,
except endings:

Gethsemane time.

He returns to the house that looks like home
and smells of her absence
while nothing can repair the silences and spaces
waiting for him:

Gethsemane time.

 

Caught

January 18, 2017

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Caught between my mirror
and blackouts, my mother and hope
twisting around to glare into
headlights and greasy black highways
behind me …

I don’t want to be here, but
to stand entwined, taking Communion

as if I were holy
as if I could hide from the whale’s lesson
as if I could pray

Intimations of Mortality

January 5, 2017

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Walking to the coffeeshop,
with my glasses off,
I stumble and fall.

Falling asleep with my glasses on,
I dream of empty coffins,
and watches.

Reading emailed obituaries
sent by old acquaintances
I hit “Delete”

before I’m finished.

 

 

My Trickster Silver Shoes

December 24, 2016

Silver shoes
My Trickster Silver Shoes
I saw a picture, and I searched
And found, on sale,

My silver trickster shoes.

Beautiful on, my silver shoes,
But when I walked, they slipped and rubbed,

My painful silver shoes.

I took them off and gave them to
A friend with sturdier feet,

My poor-fitting silver shoes.

One early morning in my closet
I saw again the silver shoes,

My absent silver shoes.

A dream, a phantasm,
A joke, a delusion,

My trickster silver shoes.

Things Change

December 19, 2016

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Things Change

The name I used to murmur in delight
Now I sob over in the night.
Things change.

The woman I used to find so annoying
Now I watch, envious and admiring
Things change.

The work I loved and did so well
I’ve left behind; I lost the joy.
Things change.

The fear I carried so long and deep
I look at now and no longer weep.

Things change.

Hagland

December 8, 2016

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The crone arrives like an undesired lover
leaving
the shape of my body
mutating.

Like an adolescent girl, I sense
changes
within:
unsought losses, unclear gifts.

I rage and sleep,
weep unwillingly,
demand more,
desire less.

There are no fairy tales here,
no promise of princes and beautiful gowns,
only
the crone’s belly
and a different cloak of invisibility.

1997

November – A Poem About the School Year

November 29, 2016

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I spent most of my life living the rhythms of the school year. November was always difficult. Here’s a poem I wrote a number of years ago when I was still teaching.

November in School

In November, everything crashes –
files are lost,
cars slide into each other,
suiciding squirrels shut down generators
and I
am late for school.

In November, people weep –
assignments fail,
teachers and students snarl,
work done is less than hoped,
and more,
much more, is required.

In November, we fear –
even if Christmas ever comes,
even if spring only hides behind
the winter we have to endure,
we have lost
whatever we came here to find.