designate (v).

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Who decided on the naming of things?
There isn’t just one word
that can explain on its own
the colors of sadness, or
the itchiness of longing. There are
so many different kinds of tired, like
the tiredness that comes from
physicality and the tiredness that
comes from being in the wrong
place for too long. There need to be
different names for the varying
degrees of home, as in, the place
where I store my belongings, as in,
the place in which I take refuge,
as in, the group of people with
whom I am the most free and safe.

I can’t name you a lesson
though I have learned things,
or name you a warning, though
there are things that we could have
gone without, or give you a name
that is in past tense, neatly tucked
away in history by the verbiage;
you are to me still present, here,
still your socks are folded in the
way I fold socks and not gathered
the way you prefer, still here
is a mug that you were the last
to clean, still here readily
is the swell in my chest when
all the names for you come
rushing too quickly and often.

exposure (n).

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It has been difficult for me
to be known by you, that kind
of visibility has not
sat well.

I have let you in to my secrets
and my regrets, you have
seen the begrudging way I greet
the morning, you have seen
my nervousness in large gatherings, you
have seen the way I fold into myself
for days at a time. You have seen
the heaviness that I bring home
with me and the way
I line it up on the table.

It is difficult to be known
by you, with all these
messy parts lying about;
I thank you that you
did not avert your eyes
but could you have
adorned the mess
with wildflowers?

sought (v).

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You find me always in my
wandering, you find me,
as you do in your gentle way,

going over the same question
again and again and
throwing me off in my doubt
by unraveling me with
the kindness of strangers.

You find me when
I don’t know your name
or what to call you, you find
me in the nameless and
unspeakable places,
you find me in my silence
and heavy sighs.

You find me even when I
flinch from the light
and you lull me into morning,
you find me, though I am
supposed to be
the one seeking you.

repetition (n).

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I am a creature of habit,
my morning this morning looked
like the morning before it, rising
with a whimper and shuffling
to the kitchen for the holy
coffee ritual – portioned with
the same spoon, I place the
same mug as I hum with the
sacred silver kettle.

I return often to the
same places, the bench in
the park where once we watched
a midnight bike parade, and returned
again after I finished my weekend shift
and again to read to each other
from the book I have read
already through, four times.

I echo often the same
songs that spoke to me
(I think maybe they were
written for me alone), these
songs I put on while I write,
or sit at home, or hurry
down to the bus stop.

I want to be in the habit of
finding new ways to
see the beauty in
even the quietest day.  

conversationalist (n).

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I’ve become unskilled at
asking people questions because
the only questions that come
to mind are the kind that
don't fit in well at parties; 
at all times I am consumed
with bringing my hand to
the tender, glossy heart-place
made of glass, asking,

in how many pieces has
your heart been broken, and

how did you become the way
you are, and

what are the things that have
made you fearful? And

what chorus of thoughts
keeps you up at night, and

where is it that you
have made a home, and

when have you been
the most alive, or the
most stuck, or the most
confused, or the most
of everything, all at once, and

who is it you call when
your world stops -
turning or just
making sense or
freezes in those brief
shattering seconds
of doubt?

Forgive me, I no longer see
a room of pretty faces, only
a room full of gaping hearts. 

subscribe (v).

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I am in awe of the enthusiasts;
what mystery is their clarity to me

that this, here, brings them delight,
and that is enough.

That they can subscribe with such
devotion to a cause: they have
shown up with faces painted and
colors adorned.

My awe of the enthusiasts
is rooted in the fact that
they have subscribed to a
place where they are confident
in their belonging,
and their joy in abandon.

I think I fear the only thing
I have been abandoned to
is my own doubt and wandering.

reply (v).

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The answer will come,
I know this as truth, though
it  may come not in the way
you have requested and
appealed to the gods.

Answers come sometimes
in the form of thunder,
announcing boldly their
stance. They come also as
a weary traveller, long away
and awaited, kicking off
dusty boots and shuffling
slowly up the stairs.

Answers come with trumpets
and choirs or with
the softest whispers at
the lowest frequencies -
sometimes they need us
to lean in closer and quiet down.

Right now you will find me
with lights off and altar made,
feet bare, kneeling on the floor,
hand to chest and heart attuned,
and even this: breath held,
ears to the west, listening and
postured for the answer,
when it is ready to reveal itself.

recurring (adj).

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My dreams are stories about
the wildness in you, and your
heady gaze. I dream
about they way
people talk about you, 
and often I have
the dream where you
list off to me what you
think are your faults. I dream
often about
your hand, almost
touching my hand, your
morning, almost
starting with my morning.

manual (n).

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Regarding the care of an aching heart:

Be unrelentingly gentle with yourself.
Wade into sweet pools of grace abounding.
Be soft with the way you bandage
your wounds (include ample amounts
of breath and expanse).
Bellow all you need, even
in soggy, ragged sobs. 

Take harbour in the wonder
that you partook in the
sacred, delicate act of
loving another being.  

components (n).

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I so wish dearly to be made
of wit or grandeur or
stories that inspire,
it would be nice also
to be impressive, just once,
or at least tidy; it would be nice
to be a person that people
knew what to make of.

It would be more convenient if
I wasn’t just made of
flowers upon flowers, spilling
out of my chest and
onto the floor,
onto our feet,
even while standing,
so many of us,
in your kitchen.

cog (n).

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What great mystery that
I was given these words, and not others,
and in this order, and from this
voice, in this tone.
 

What strange passage that
I must find the way to say it,
the words that will fall
from my rolling mind and
tumbling heart.

What an odd happening that
I would spend the whole morning
in stillness and silence to
find some way to point out the
wandering of the world.

unrepentant (adj).

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Who is the woman I am becoming
and when will I become
a woman who does not apologize
(so much), that is,
a woman who does not apologize
(ever) when she is not in the wrong.

I want to be a woman who refuses
to smile and take it
when it is not something
that I care to take. 

I want to be a woman who is not afraid
to take up space and
make room for others at the table –
and stage, and up, up the ladder and
into the open field and wild sea.

sector (n).

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Our hearts have chambers,
as if the creator knew
we couldn’t take it
all at once,
so much of life arriving and
leaving at
any given time.

Delight and sorrow both,
they are too much and too
substantive to not have
some way of filtering them
into bouts and waves.

I can only take in small increments
the great mystery that
brought us together.

I can only take in small increments
the simple fact that
we sleep in different rooms.