Eloise Klein Healy

from Ordinary Wisdom


Paradise Press/Red Hen Press Reprint, 2005

Buy from Red Hen Press


Paper I write on is already used on one side
by the time I get it.
Third hand from the tree, almost a breath,
a ghost of paper when I get it.
Full, it is used up.
Emptied, I am full.
Everything breathes out and back
and I should never buy paper
to work on.
Empty on one side
empties enough of me.
I should cook more dinners
and sing more songs.
Feed my friends
and make my guests laugh.
All my virtues look like virtues to me
when I fall into bed tired
and the food is all eaten
and my friends have gone home
Then I know the breath of how many flowers
I am worth.
Breathing out, breathing in.
Relationship of use,
empty and full.

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The pond has found a place to go
and remembers
water's oldest mind,
move downhill.
So takes the split
the oleander found
and trickles out the seam,
knows this is breath again
to push this whirl
around this leaf.
Find the lower place.
This is breath
to work side to side.
Wait for strength,
then further along
rushing open notes
split the world
and pour through
In vain, the caretaker shakes his head,
tries plugging the leak with stones and mud.
Water, he says, you can't take small steps with it.

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