Photo by Colin Hoogerwerf

The voices were a bell curve. Some version of each word is always a bit ahead and behind and then in the middle, the muddled rest.

I spoke, listening to the others for pace. We all did. And so we adopted the pace of us all, the pace of waiting and following both, the pace of wanting my voice to fall with all the others and at the same time appreciating those who spoke loudly and late or quickly, eagerly, ahead.

Only half of it is speaking. The other half is, of course, listening, to the guy in front, the lady beside, the bright-eyed child in his mother’s arms, finding a place between to say my words. The listening is much harder than the saying and can cause stumbles and misspeak.

But without listening, I can never know the fullness of the prayer.

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Photo by Colin Hoogerwerf

Walked upon
unconsidered yet relied upon.
Giving life always outward
receiving it back used and empty.
To be not one
but a conglomeration
only a thing because it is many.
A reception.
A depth.
A hardness.
With no mind
but that which it creates and gives away relentlessly.

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Photo by Colin Hoogerwerf

When we came together
we left behind traces
of ourselves
dried and crinkled and semi-transparent
little selfish longings and
freedoms which once seemed
to be structurally important
to the architecture of being.

Underneath was something
smooth and a little raw
new to the world
but immediately eager.

It will not last forever.
It too will dry and peel away.

Only something alive
could be so resilient.

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Photo by author

Step softly
the ferns you tread
are complicated beasts
although their dainty leaves
may have you thinking otherwise.
Love, they may not know
or perhaps we stroll by hand
in tight-clasped hand
and they wonder how on earth
we mess up such a simple thing as love.
Look gently. Wonder lurks
behind the brush you push aside
skittish as Luna moths
who show themselves to only
wandering children, the girl
who lost her only friend, the man
who could not find his home.
You’ll find it when it finds
you unstriving and lost.
Take care this is no place
for those who know the way.

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