all poems and photographs
© by Maya Stein

all poems and photographs
© by Maya Stein
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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

strong


















You don't have to be as strong
as you think you do.
You can come limping up the stairs,
stagger into my kitchen for water
and drink it as indelicately as a toddler,
and I will gaze at you with the same wonder
that broadsided me when I first realized
I could love you.
It does not matter if you are lost, or sick, or scared,
if the words you utter are gibberish or song,
if waking up makes your hair look funny,
if you forget the keys, if you burn our dinner,
if disaster is your ally.
You can enter my house like an elephant,
leave dirty handprints against the wall,
chew the mint directly off its pot
and I would whisper your name
like the caress it always is.

Love, I will falter too.
I will drive down a street that says
"Do Not Enter" and I will have missed the sign.
I will bump tender hips into the sharp corners
of every piece of furniture in the house
and curse louder than necessary.
I will make irreversible errors,
clutter the countertop with my messy heart,
leave wounds brutal and bleeding.
I will not fold the laundry into neat corners.
I will step haphazardly into a field of nettles.
I will almost ruin myself to catch you for the split second
you are catchable.

We don't have to be as strong
as we think we do.
If we wanted, we could fall
as easily as plastic soldiers.
We could slide our feet into the gutter
and wait for the rain,
sit so still our breath would sound
like a waterfall miles away.
If we wanted, we could unmake the plans
that married us to safety.
We could take the next exit
instead.
We could feed the world with our spectacular frailty.
We could start all over again.
We could let the glass shatter
into sand.

21 comments:

rentschler said...

I am a poet so I can say, this is so beautiful that it is Heaven. I am beyond words. Thank you so much. May I copy this, with credit, of course? I'd love to share this with my husband.

(I come from Joanna Young's twitter reference. Glad I did)

~Sherry

GailNHB said...

I love that you confess your faults and foibles ahead of time. I love that having faults is just fine in your book. And in your life. Beautiful.

Pardon me, I have a few plans to unmake.

Peace.

Indelible said...

This is the kind of beauty that leaves your fingertips trembling with hope-ridden desire. So perfectly fitting for what my own heart is feeling right now. Thank you.

Milly said...

Beautiful. Love it!

purplesplatitudes said...

Your gifts and talents leave me breathless as I read your words, and when I am able to breathe again, I feel like I should just be silent and say thank you.

stef said...

you totally had me from the first word to the very very end.
love this - so beautiful.

xo

Marianne said...

Thank you.

For writing the truth, in all it's beauty, and thereby telling my story as you tell yours.

paris parfait said...

Really touching poem. Well done, you!

leonie.wise said...

i really do adore your poetry.

Lindsey said...

Just so extraordinary beautiful. Thank you.

Julie said...

No words, just silence. Always a sign that beauty has shown its face.

Jess @ Openly Balanced said...

This is absolutely stunning. Thank you for bringing it into the world and sharing it with us.

Nicki said...

This is beautiful!

Sandra said...

It brought tears to my eyes - beautiful.

Emily said...

Maya ~
Even on my busiest days you words can make me pause. This is so beautiful ~ thank you for sharing.

margie said...

i always look forward to reading your blog.

Beth P. said...

Stunning. Thank you.

Shoofly said...

Bingo.

AS said...

Maya, I came from Patti's blog. Your words are so real as if you are speaking for all. I write but rarely...Your words inspire me to get in touch with my feelings...To sing them out...Simply beautiful..!!

Victoria said...

One of the most beautiful things I have read. Thank you.

Jaime said...

Absolutely beautiful.