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
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
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.
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.
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For more by Mark Nepo, click here.