Posts in Writing
To the five of them. The five of you.

by Meghan O'Rourke

Even now I can’t grasp “nothing” or “never.”
They’re unholdable, unglobable, no map to nothing.
Never? Never ever again to see you?
An error, I aver. You’re never nothing,
because nothing’s not a thing.
I know death is absolute, forever,
the guillotine-gutting-never to which we never say goodbye.
But even as I think “forever” it goes “ever”
and “ever” and “ever.” Ever after.
I’m a thing that keeps on thinking. So I never see you
is not a thing or think my mouth can ever. Aver:
You’re not “nothing.” But neither are you something.
Will I ever really get never?
You’re gone. Nothing, never—ever.



Think in ways you've never thought before.
If the phone rings, think of it as carrying a message
Larger than anything you've ever heard,
Vaster than a hundred lines of Yeats.

Think that someone may bring a bear to your door, 
Maybe wounded and deranged; or think that a moose
Has risen out of the lake, and he's carrying on his antlers
A child of your own home you've never seen. 

When someone knocks on the door, think that he's about
To give you something large: tell you you're forgiven,
Or that it's not necessary to work all the time, or that it's
Been decided that if you lie down no one will die. 

—Robert Bly



(In my sleep I dreamed this poem)

Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift. 

― Mary Oliver, Thirst

WritingJane DornMary Oliver
You must

This landed between the eyes in a sea of loss.


Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend. 

— Naomi Shihab Nye



If you asked about my Aunt Dorcas

I’d tell you she died yesterday.

I’d tell you
she buried two husbands:
one, a drunk bastard
one, a name she already wore
so then it doubled.

Thin as a kitchen match

Bright as the end of that hot-boxed Pall Mall

Sharp as the hook she baited
(squatting in tall grass
skeeters on her chin)

I’d tell you she cashed out
hid her money
in the safe at the funeral home
so she could live in hell for free

and I’d tell you
we shared some blood

and her name was biblical
but she wasn’t

even though she got popped on the foot
by a ball of lightning
skipping fast as “My Lou”
across the church parking lot
as she folded her double-name-causing second husband
and his oxygen tank
into that smoky sedan

She laughed at that devil

Southern Baptists
crock pot at home on low
fear now on high
turned to stone on hot, after-church asphalt

Later I’d tell you
how I squandered my last chance
to learn more of her little brother
my long-gone father 




Been thinking a lot about sacred rage. About the kindness of fire. About leaning into grief. I’ve been thinking a lot about everyone I know who knows the feeling of winded grace, and keeps running towards and towards and towards, and never away.

How often do you hear the tenderness you need to hear? I mean exactly when you need to hear it? Is it ever before that little yolk of hurt wraps itself in layers hard enough to break teeth? 
Keeping Things Whole

In a field 
I am the absence 
of field. 
This is 
always the case. 
Wherever I am 
I am what is missing.

When I walk 
I part the air 
and always 
the air moves in 
to fill the spaces 
where my body’s been.

We all have reasons 
for moving. 
I move 
to keep things whole. 

—Mark Strand