A Very Good Question


I’m not sure my reasons are good.  And a very good friend asked me to list them.

Above is my list.  This is why.  It’s love at true sight.

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Go along with me, dragging – if we must – the heavy words that cover our
feet like cement shoes —

Let’s see what spring reveals to us —
A joy that will not wait until we feel better, feel ready to carry
sad news and pinkness in one
human heart.


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I admit that sometimes I use photography as a means to not see.  I don’t know if taking pictures is really the best way to let magnolias get inside the springtime part of me.  Like almost all love in the real world, I have to endure the tension between the dream I want to experience and the magnetic imperfection of the beloved – and, it follows, my own self.

This pair of images seems to illustrate an answer to that riddle – yet they really only frame the question: Which is the dream and which is love?  That answer is not to be found anywhere, I think — except in something yearning, and yellow and too slow moving to be revealed in 1/1000 of a second.

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I hope your Spring is here


It’s almost too damn pretty here right now.  The late magnolias chased the early magnolias by only a few days and the flowering crabapples have come too far to turn back, even for temperatures in the 30s this morning.

It’s lovely.  Stay tuned.

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Contrary to appearances,
most everything takes longer these days – but not Spring.

All of a sudden, it was Easter before my eyes, and it only dawned on me —
as the sky turned blue behind magnolia buds —

that whatever Earth thinks of your sacrifice,
She is always ready to be reborn.

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Obviously Daffodils


You can buy those daffodils, still sealed tight in their buds –
Ready to find their way to yellow –
“Oh, but they do last longer!”
I don’t have time for that.
Give me the daffodils that couldn’t wait.
The ones who burst their long, green cocoons
and drink and drink from grassy straws –
lushes luscious with stored up ruffles and wings.
I need them right now, not their
promise for tomorrow.
Show me everything.
Each opens only once,
until it’s Spring again.

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So True


When I was 4ish, I dreamed about where I had lived before I was born.  A sylvan place, open and sunny – warm and soft and green.  You were there, and we were planning something.

That we are together is a fact, not just something to remember.  I say this as much for myself as for you.

In the dream, I lay on the grass, in open shade beneath a massive apple tree.  The hard tree roots pressed into my back, but I felt they knew me so I didn’t mind. I looked up at the blue sky through the leaves, and wondered.

You must have wondered, too – because I think that was when we began.

Happy birthday, darling.  I love since before beginning, and I am sure there will be no end.

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March 29, 2010 – Fulfilled


I did not feel like choosing between butterflies today.

I wanted you to have them all.
But this isn’t even all of them.

One is for you, and one is for me.
But I can’t remember which is which.

Maybe you can tell?

Since seven years ago, I may have learned
Just because you let the wind take you, doesn’t mean you are not determined.
Just because things are ended doesn’t mean they are fulfilled.
That job belongs to us.

They are never really gone as long as we remember.
I remember, Barbara Anne Downtain.  And we are both forgiven.

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Tuesday, March 28, 1944


March 28th was her last day.  Do you know what that means?  I think you do.

It means, remember where you are now — the bittersweet remnants of coffee on your tongue, the ancient dryness of the hand that you hold – even if, for today, it is only your own.

It means, look up and let the sky absorb you into its clouds and sunrays like Mary rising to her rightful home, because it’s your home, too.  Not heaven, but here — and our belonging.

All my cells say one thing – I love you and you broke my heart.  You love me and I broke your heart.  And if I become human at all, that is the story of how.

Please remember she loved daffodils, like her sister.  She loved arguing and the Ministry of Silly Walks.

And you – she loved you, the way a human being can.

I pray it was a good day, dear.  I miss you and love you, Mom.


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For my sisters whose mothers are gone


For my sisters whose mothers are gone:

You must know now that she loved you
in some way
(through no fault of yours)
obscured by the
blindness that lets us all
go on breathing despite the fact
there is no tomorrow.

Love veiled,
seeping through crevices,
marks of others’ misdeeds
(that through no fault of yours)

Became all you could be
without finding her rage
in your heart.

There may be no other way
inside the skin of her tenderness
no way other than to survive her

and all that entails.

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