A Blessing for the Dark

You asked, What will I do
when I am wild and lonely
and you are not there?
What will I do in that dark?

I will give you a blessing
folded tight for that time.

No, you will not see me—
oh, passing in the street perhaps
as I have seen my brother, 

in dreams, for sure, as I have talked 
to my father at a restaurant table—

but that does not mean that I am not there.

If you speak to me, I will answer.
You will feel my words warm in your heart
as if I had said, I'm right here,
as if I had put my hand in yours and kept it there

and you will know what I would have said—
what I am saying—
through the shift in the light,
the flick of your cat's ear,

through memory, yes,
but by the rush, too, of blood through you,
your softening.

When you think there's no way to go on,
know that I sit beside you
silent, but loving you,

that I see how strong you are
as you let yourself steady,

as you choose carefully.

And when you find ones you love,
ones who love you,
I am inside their love,
part of their laugh, their playful pounce,
their hand in yours.

A mound of potatoes, this blessing,
a flower on a spiraling vine,
your breath easing in the soft dark.
Give it to someone hungry.
Give it to yourself.


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