Bike Ride, Contemplating Distance
Immature corn stalks look like ugly dolls one would have to try
to find pretty. Today, these fields are full of an ocean no longer there.
(Of all the ways to hunger for a person)
Time can feel like the fields just dried of their ancient water an hour ago.
What’s happening inside today that makes this a place hope leaves?
The other day I was thinking of all the things that flood:
lights, water, engines, basements. I chose the heart’s a flooded engine.
for the clicking while trying to turn over. Then, I gave up:
someone just tell me how jellyfish work instead.
It disturbs me every time a sparrow pecks at a gliding hawk,
these games in the sky. Wanting it to stop goes against nature.
Beyond the shoulder, purple coneflower petals drop like an umbrella
instead of a palm that holds, but the black-eyed susans’
though fallen, are still bright; they’re of the sun,
and the sun is the only perfect thing. That ocean
wasn’t even named.
I put on my thick skin: my, “You don’t know where I’ve been.”
Still spent the evening with eyes cast down.
Walking home, birds’ wings burst from a bush;
my pulse mirrored their shock.
It grieves me not to know your language.
Early bells bloom between bricks, a tiny place
to focus on, the way I would a woman’s sleeve,
a little slip of skin to quiet the looming vast.
Then a cat, crouched, watches—
Looking into her eyes we exchange time,
hers, much slower than mine.
Why had I been trying to work against
the way life is this constant undoing?
I don’t care if it’s half wild
to see people as half divine.
It’s fascinating how the objects we have some conscious relationship with hold energy, pulse, like a favorite book whose words feel alive. One of my favorite souvenirs is my grandmother’s rosary. I carry it in my purse as she carried it in hers, and in doing so I remember moments of kneeling next to her in church while she prayed the rosary; I can hear her voice blending with others praying.
I’ve been writing my entire life—reading and writing is a way for me to feel relationship with the world. I grew up in the Midwest and became drawn to Buddhist studies at Beloit College with a wonderful teacher. I hold an MFA in creative nonfiction from West Virginia University, where I also fine-tuned my love for poetry. Lately, I’m interested in the ways that poetry can form a spiritual practice both in terms of contemplative quiet and potential activism. I’m currently continuing Buddhist studies at Harvard Divinity school, where I love translating Pali sentences about the moon and generosity (things I think about daily) and walking among the old trees in and just outside of Boston with my dog.