Time to Live

birch
Birches
Always look straight up at them.
Feet apart. Near enough to see
their sacred scars. Let them be
your halo, white, or your crown
of thorns. Birches, like women,
are more lovely without cover,
will dizzy you with their drive
to bud and drink and live.
When they shed their skin
you will want to write your love
on their passing girlhood, to press
it in a book. You will want to give
up all for a look at the sky
through their timorous arms, which wave
a summons to come.
Time to feel. Time to live.
{First appeared in Geez Magazine, Fall 2005}

_________________________

I Wake Happy Here
I wake happy here.
The light outside my window,
waves’ grandmotherly hum, the ample
luxury of this sane-soft bed. I smooth
the quilt as I rise.
Each window-blind a magician’s scarf
stripped away. Light crests the hills, hint
of sun on the sea, bleached breakers
an elysian white. Daughter asleep,
house steeped in milky quietness—
holy casa del mar,
as my monk friend says.
Birds of morning fly
into my tree, turn breasts
to wakening day. Once
from my window I saw the word
WELCOME spelled out in foam
on the beach. Swift sagging message
returned to sea. Back to mystery,
second-guessing. Back to who-
knows-where. It didn’t matter.
All of life a flash of messages:
who we are, where our hearts belongs,
where the deep welcome of time
will not be lost. Birds fly
into our trees, then ascend, mere
quivers of light, and come back again.
{First appeared in Rain Magazine, 2006}

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