but a rain-soaked day keeping me inside
with you and you loving me like a storm.
This is not a poem but a record of a hundred mornings
when the sun lifted above the stone hills outside my window.
This is time for boiling water poured into the chipped cup
holding elderflower, hawthorn, mugwort.
This is not a poem but me standing perfectly still on the edge of the lake
in autumn, watching a hundred starlings like prayer flags fluttering.
This is my face buried in May’s first pink peony,
petals just now parting, eyes closed, inhaling.
This is not a poem but the field beyond thought and judgment
and the ways I tear myself apart on too many fine days.
This is the place where clocks no longer matter unless
it is the dusty gold watch which belonged to my grandfather.
This is not a poem but me standing desolate in a parade
of white gravestones, when a single bluebird lands and sings.
This is the bunch of Gerbera daisies you handed to me one foggy
February afternoon, pale yellow like the long-forgotten sun.
This is the first bite of bread after too many hungry days,
this is my grandmother whispering her secrets to me after dusk.
This is not a poem, but me taking off my clothes
and stepping eagerly into the cold mid-December sea.
This is the silence between breaths and in that stillness
this is me saying yes and yes and yes.
—Christine Valters Paintner, from Praying with Monks and Mystics