This Time

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Funny how we love

in the way we want to be loved,

how we think of others in the way

we want to be thought of, how feeling

abandoned I vow never to abandon,

how being termed a disappointment

I slave not to disapprove, how finally

disappointment and disapproval

grow indiscernible as burns from

ice or heat, how now I’m up in the

night certain if I disappoint you

I am not worthy of your love, how

loving’s become an obsession with

correcting the past, as if I’m strapped

to this rear-view mirror always looking

behind to move ahead, with this cramp

in my heart which I must hold till

it softens.

And when it softens, there will be

no waiting for you to speak first.

No more moping in that self-

mortared purgatory between

the feeling and the actual

living of it.

No, this time, I will take your hand

without hesitation as if you or I

are about to die, and if we live,

where our hands join, a flower

whose nectar will attract

even God.

This time, I will honor everything

including how rabbits chew

without looking at their food,

and how your aunt, now bed-ridden,

twists her hair as her mother did,

and how branches broken

stir the mud till flowers

split the gate.

This time,

I will enter the silence

in which my heart wakes, crisp

as the blue above God’s wing.

This time, joy.

A Question to Walk With: Describe a time in your past that has a hold over you. How might you accept the past instead of trying to rearrange it? Name one step you might take to unlock the past’s hold on you?

This excerpt is from my book, The Way Under The Way: The Place of True Meeting, 2016 Nautilus Award Winner.

For more poetry for the soul, click here.

For more by Mark Nepo, click here.