Wednesday, April 8, 2009

My Girl Suffers


My girl suffers, and sometimes goes far away
where I can’t see her pain.
I can only see the sign of her pain
like the tracks of a large animal that has passed by.
I am not a great tracker, but she is my girl.
I do everything to relieve her suffering
but it isn’t enough.  It’s my best.
She always gives her best when I suffer,
and I never know when my pain will leave signs
like a large animal that has passed by.
She is the better tracker, her senses are finer.
That’s what we do for each other,
because we love one another,
even when the love hurts, because the loved one hurts.
My girl suffers too much, but she is so strong;
she bears her pain with dignity and sorrow.
The world suffers and the world’s suffering
makes more pain for my girl to bear,
because that’s who she is: every animal, every tiny bird or mouse,
all the life and death that comes and goes,
my girl knows, feels, deals, for her it is all real.
The world’s suffering is folded into her suffering,
her suffering is  folded into the world’s suffering,
they have ways of being the same pain.
Some people are more expert at pain than others.
My girl is an expert.  She is much stronger than I am.
When I was young I learned to duck, to watch out.
My girl trusts too much, and she doesn’t duck.
I help because I can, because I  duck so fast.
My girl suffers, and sometimes goes far away, far away,
because she must.  I leave the gates, the doors, the bridges open,
so she can find her way back.
I am not strong enough to go where she goes,
but I keep the lights on and the fire burning,
for when she returns, smiling,
playful and childlike, once again.


Breathing

Breathing.
My cat goes up and down
on my chest.
It is not me that she loves,
but my breath.
Up and down, up and down,
she rides the gentle pendulum,
infinitely soothed.
If I have to move,
have to remove her
from my breath,
she departs with a grief,
and longs to return
as soon as I will permit.
Breathing.
My cat knows what counts;
not love, not my smell,
not my scratching of her ears:
just my breath.
Where she lives,
where I live.
Breathing.