The Quiet

the quiet
is made of yellow wildflowers
in long green grass
amidst sun-scorched tan patches

the quiet
is also made of blue sky
with puffy white clouds
and birds flying in pairs

the quiet
is that place where
grief settles

it visits on the drive through the valley
then comes to stay on the bus through the mountains
and remains through bluegrass music on the radio
patiently

it is heavy
so that movements are slower
as if made in water
with care so that nothing cracks or tears open

the quiet
is where sadness lives
when the burial is over
and where we will dwell for some time now

-L

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May 4, 2018

Eye-watering spicy curry
at the hole-in-the-wall Thai joint

Later, crying in the rain
on the way to buy ice cream

Idiosyncrasies –
images that do not fit together

Because how can I still laugh
at how my shirt is now splattered with coconut sauce
when I just cried in the entrance to dinner
as my mother called to tell me the news?

Maybe in the same way
that I can immediately want to sit down and watch Casablanca
even as I feel an overwhelming sadness
and know that the worst of the grief is not yet upon us.

And maybe also in the way
that I know I do not believe in conscious life after death
even as I run through every prayer I can remember
in the hope that she is somewhere I will eventually visit.

-L

an ode to our almost-romance

why i still think of you, i can’t quite tell

but that summer, i rode my bike each morning
before the world had woken up
to that little house by the
wood-fired pizza place

we built that house, or rather, you did
while i learned to drill a few screws,
use tin snips,
and drink yerba mate from an old
mason jar

on the lake, in your canoe and
along the path, you point out
all the plants,
crush leaves
in your hands and bring them to
my nose
“spicebush,” you tell me, smiling
so i can see the little gap between
your two front teeth

and there, right off the lake
on the branch of the giant sycamore,
we built that swing with scrap
lumber from the house and you
tried to put your arm around me

i think the swing is still there

do you remember what the difference is
between a yam and a sweet potato?
over pizza, we discussed and to this day,
at the grocery store, when the clerk asks me
“is this a yam or a sweet potato?”

i think of you

-A

quietude

for how long have you mistaken being
quiet for being
small?

on the path last week, near sundown
i carried my binoculars
and aimed them towards the treetops
down by the arroyo

i didn’t recognize any songs,
but heard them, nonetheless

i watched the desert cardinal
ahead of me off the path,
perched on the cholla,
pyrrhuloxia

heard the quail scurrying
through the dead leaves
and shrubs,
glimpses of the feathers on their
heads

when i listen
when i look

when i am quiet

i expand and i stretch
and i am filled

i am not small for being
quiet

besides, the size of
joy
cannot be measured

-A

Springtime in the City

weather like silk
just a light fabric
blanketing the skin

even the traffic horns
are a symphony
and the man selling papers
looks new and alive to me

evening stars shining
despite the stoplights

I sleep with the window open
because it seems we only get
two nights a year like this
and here is one

-LIMG_1557

Sketch: First Full Attempt at Self Portrait

I see her there beside him in the parking lot,
studying the stars,
trying to make him proud.

I want to tell her
that one day she will find the Little Dipper
from the window of a plane flying over the Sahara.

But I know she can only feel her feet on one continent for now,
so I just hope she knows she can be enough tonight
loving the stars without knowing Perseus from Orion.

IMG_1525 (1)-L

lonely girl, desert journey

am i only a
reflection?

the hues and
textures of
those i love
woven into
the lines on my
palms?

when i am so
far away from
the rolling hills
and rocky peaks,

do i still exist?

i cut open the thick,
stale air around me
and can finally
breathe in the light,
again

this happens, i
am reminded of
myself with
no context,
no crutches,
just spine and
bare bones

i am green,
dusty, soft,
rocky, sharp,
ragged, muddy,
and hazy

i am tethered
to belonging,
only this time,
to my self

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-A