No Magic

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When the cop confirmed

Her beloved breathed his last breath

She fell on her heart

As if it was a sword.

 

For days, weeks, months,

She walked in the woods,

Drank water, and wailed

Like a widow.

 

In June, she jumped on a plane.

Belize—the place to be reborn—

A yoga retreat would do the trick,

She told herself.

 

Vulnerability pursued her

On the pier, by the beach, under the stars,

By the blue water with the big fish,

She broke open.

 

Spread thin like the yoga teachers’ words

Demanding she manage

Muscles and mind into moments,

Just moments.

 

No magic; Damn it!

Balancing poses. Breath.

Hers. The groups’ stretched

Into something more.

 

She arrived with less

Of herself, her heart, her certainty.

She learned to stand solid.

Still alone, without him.

Strings on Gifts

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When your sister’s husband dies

You drop everything

As if you could do anything

About the thing that’s kicking her ass.

Damn, if it don’t make you ache to

Watch her brave it, and badly.

Because there’s no good way to do this;

Grief doesn’t look good on anyone.

Oh, it might make you wise.

Sure, someday, some way

The thing that takes you to the brink

Will bring you back with compassion.

Yeah, soon my sister’s life will

Feel like a call to action.

But, today, this moment,

It’s like a girl—if she had any—

Getting kicked in the balls.

A girl I grew up with.

A girl who stood up to life

When it told her to play it small.

She shouted, “Give me something big!”

It did. And took it away.

A high price to pay,

What she was asking.

Unprepared, as we all are

For gifts and their strings.