Tag Archives: daughters

Touching the Heart Mind

I finished work early today,
walked out of the office
I built in my barn
into a cool afternoon.

I took the clippers from the
upstairs linen closet and
cut my hair with the shortest blade.

There were still a few errands to run
before I came to sit here in our kitchen,
distracted by house sounds and
typing out a home-leaving poem
for sesshin,

where I’ll sit with the sangha,
alone together
under autumn skies.

Cloud Formations

Three poems —
one about the love
in a small bag of pistachios —
and two works of prose
sit unwritten in my notebook;

the spaces aren’t big enough.

Yet, finally,
as the sun rises,
I call my daughter
out to the front steps
where we sit and talk about
yesterday’s and the morning’s
cloud formations
and what they may tell us
about the weather to come.

She watches her own breath
in the cool morning air,
describes the difference between
cirrus and altocumulus,
and asks me my favorite.

How the Children have Grown

He means well and offers connection
when he remarks how the children have grown,
that it won’t be too long before they aren’t around.

My daughter blinks her eyes
while my son mouths to me that
it isn’t true.

My own sense of the truth of his words
doesn’t make them welcome in the moment
of which they are now an indelible part.

She’s Rearranged Her Room

She’s rearranged her room
and proudly invites her father
to admire the work.

It makes up most of her world
on this summer afternoon —
careful placement of
well-worn friends,
books for reading
in the pillowed corner,
a place she has reserved for
hide-and-seek
just behind the bed.

If you lie right there
you can reach the fan, she tells him.

Turn it on, she says —
it smells just like the outside.

Her father looks out the window
as he turns the switch,
the ancient glass curving the view
across the lawn.

It really does, he replies,
tasting in that breath,
just for a moment at
the back of his throat,
the back of his memory,

his own childhood
rearranged room,
just-so and steady.

Ten

Her ears glowed bright red
when she returned home,
newly pierced earrings
gracing either side of her
bright eyes and shy smile.

I wished that we had taken her picture
in the morning,
but we hadn’t planned
for this to be the day —
just gone ahead when she asked,
following through on a months’ old promise.

As I watched her through the kitchen window
my wife told me about how
brave she had been.
We reminisced about that cold winter
when we had walked her back and forth
between her bedroom and ours,
soothing her newborn tears.

She came inside to tell me
she had seen the first snow drops,
or at least their green shoots
peeking through the icy leftovers
of the latest storm.

That’s where I’m going to build my fairy house,
she told me.

She ducked back outside
and leaned against the post on the porch,
filling an old seashell with greenery,
her legs outstretched
in the pale sun and
whispering quietly to herself,
perhaps about the moment,
or maybe about
all of her ten years.

(A found companion piece to Almost Eight)

Shiny Rocks

I’ve gained nothing
from the practice,
instead losing some
of what I used to have.

What I looked for isn’t here.

Still fearful,
bitter at separation —

but, too,
softened against the day
and quicker to tears.

My daughter’s pockets
are filled with shiny rocks,
just like mine.
 

A Small Book of Poems without a Shelf

Clutter has built up
around the edges of the room.

Facing the altar,
I can not see it,
but the gravity
of its accumulation
pulls me backward
toward the west window.

It isn’t much –
an iron, a board,
and hangers from the morning;
my daughter’s cloth cuttings
spilling from a box she has
decorated in tissue paper;
a small book of poems
without a shelf;

remnants awaiting
places to fit
just so.