Compassion

 

I wish that I could tell you
about beauty and astonishment.

I wish that I could tell you
about childhood

and the deep freeze of winters, the way
we warmed our tiny hands

by pressing our palms together.
I wish, too, that I could tell you

about my life now, how
many things did work out, after all –

the way in which
I lay on a bed of ancient embroidery,

admiring its threads,
its certainty.

And how will we know that we’ve learned
all that we need to know?

And what will the moment of grace
spell out with seeds, small and humble

as dark brown flax on a dish?
Imagine
if we scatter them.

Imagine if
we absorb their patterns
in order to forget them.

(Remember that time
you set aside your work and flung open the doors?

Remember how you no longer cared
where you stood?)

One day,
I will tell you about all the ways

you might reveal
your tentative heart.

I will tell you how to sing it a song
about its birth, that first moment

you recognized the loved one’s face –

when the only thing left to do

was to offer
the finest seat at the table,
to feast.

That was the day
you gave your loneliness
its first name,

so that, in time,
it too
might learn how to speak.

 

SK