for dinner

the sweetness
of getting to decide
every night
what to eat, where,
and with whom
has merged
with a nostalgia
for coming home
to a pot of rice,
and plates of entrees
(always at least one soup),
and everyone reaching in
with their own fork or spoon.

i wonder whether
what it is like
to come home,
make a pot of rice,
a stirfry, a curry,
and call loved ones
to the table,
knowing that they will eat

that certainty
of evenings
is as foreign now
as meatloaf.

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echoes

the hurt sometimes look too closely
for signs of what may hurt again
though the seeking itself is hurtful

it seems better to be ready
than to be taken completely unaware
though to be prepared is also painful–

so let go of what was witnessed
set aside his cruel detachment
forget her quiet suffering

learn to see the difference between
then and now, past and present
who they were and who we are

and also know
it is not your fault
it was not your responsibility.

preparation

i am beginning to share your gray
learning to share the meaning of worry
trying not to think too much of grief

what awaits, i do not know
although it happens all the time
this process of birth, growth,
aging

passing.

i know what to expect
and i hope that i
can give as much to you
as you have given

without dread
without disdain
without resentment

i am readying myself
i will be ready
i hope
i will be ready.

loving after the war years

i grow older
and move farther
and farther away

and yet my life
grows less
and less
divided

there is no hiding
from the past
from family
from those who know me

and why should i
wish to hide
anyway?

whatever weight
i have been trying
to escape–
could it not
be a foundation?

stronger, sturdier,
than what i can build alone?

i keep making new homes
all the time

i have learned to
always be ready
for leaving

all of it is in my blood

my dna is filled with
memories of working hard
and being quiet
to survive

i have inherited a sense
of always being
on the defense, ready
for attack
from outsiders
from within.

there is more than that
there is more than fear

there is also
the ability
to hold on
across long distances
to find family
again and again
to rebuild
to rebuild
to rebuild

again, and again
no matter where

to love you is
to want to love you
better
all the time

to love you better
i must let go of
what is not love
in myself