the ugly earring

ug‧ly [uhg-lee] offensive to the sense of beauty; displeasing in appearance

something that stays

We are the time. We are the famous
metaphor from Heraclitus the Obscure.

We are the water, not the hard diamond,
the one that is lost, not the one that stands still.

We are the river and we are that greek
that looks himself into the river. His reflection
changes into the waters of the changing mirror,
into the crystal that changes like the fire.

We are the vain predetermined river,
in his travel to his sea.

The shadows have surrounded him.
Everything said goodbye to us, everything goes away.

Memory does not stamp his own coin.

However, there is something that stays
however, there is something that bemoans.

~Jorge Luis Borgess

(photo from a hike: hohokam petroglyphs)

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our mutual hearing

To Hold

So we’re dust. In the meantime, my wife and I
make the bed. Holding opposite edges of the sheet,
we raise it, billowing, then pull it tight,
measuring by eye as it falls into alignment
between us. We tug, fold, tuck. And if I’m lucky,
she’ll remember a recent dream and tell me.

One day we’ll lie down and not get up.
One day, all we guard will be surrendered.

Until then, we’ll go on learning to recognize
what we love, and what it takes
to tend what isn’t for our having.
So often, fear has led me
to abandon what I know I must relinquish
in time. But for the moment,
I’ll listen to her dream
and she to mine, our mutual hearing calling
more and more detail into the light
of a joint and fragile keeping.

– Li-Young Lee

(photo from the personal archives during a roadtrip from phoenix to los angeles)