A Love Letter To Joy

I realized I never thanked you. And I realize now I don’t know how.

On that torn piece of construction paper, you told me I was meant to finish this out by myself, that is what I came for.

And on that other torn piece of construction paper, I told you we would see each other soon.

I don’t want to tell you about the shoes that are still under my bed; I don’t want to think about them. But I do. Somehow, those dusty rhinestones are most of what I think about when I turn off the last light.

I’m scared. My body seems to be disappearing while something else is growing. Something I think I might love, but at what cost? The years when I made forks out of mud and refused to swim in ponds?

Oh, Joy.

You are Mahler II and mostly just a collection of light.

You are little blank pages with just the right words.

You are Emerson and Steinbeck and sometimes me.

You are the song from the kitchen that I can’t quite hear but can’t help smiling anyway.

You are Joy. Even when you are empty and lost and tired, you are Joy.

I promise you, Joy is enough. She is perfectly enough.

image

This is what I can give you today:

Picking Blueberries in Austerlitz, New York
Mary Oliver

Once, in summer,
In the blueberries,
I fell asleep, and woke
When a deer stumbled against me.

I guess
She was so busy with her own happiness
She had grown careless
And was just wandering along

Listening
To the wind as she leaned down
To lip up the sweetness.
So, there we were

With nothing between us
But a few leaves, and the wind’s
Glossy voice
Shouting instructions.

The deer
Backed away finally
And flung up her white tail
And went floating off toward the trees–

But the moment before she did that
Was so wide and so deep
It has lasted to this day;
I have only to think of her–

The flower of her amazement
And the stalled breath of her curiosity,
And even the damp touch of her solicitude
Before she took flight–

To be absent again from this world
And alive, again, in another,
For thirty years,
Sleepy and amazed,

Rising out of the rough weeds,
Listening and looking.
Beautiful girl,
Where are you?

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