I wrote this poem to my dog Rosie soon after she died. That was well more than ten years ago and I came across it again tonight. I'm still asking the same questions….
What’s To Know
Rosie girl, tell me about heaven.
I expect you to greet me, you know,
Your soft stub of a tail wagging so effortlessly
that I will see you even in the back row,
and even in the faraway barley fields,
Your enthusiasm rocked by the flow
of something never lost,
Something never handed over.
Tell me what I should know about living
So I can get it right.
Tell me if abundance is real,
and if it is,
Tell me I can turn in my leash for a dance card
and stroll and roll through the back woods
knowing that every sacred scent is in place.
Tell me, Rosie, that it is enough to try.
Enough to care, enough to prepare,
Enough to get it right simply because
it’s all right.
I’m unable to know these things myself
but I trust you, Rosie. I know you know
what matters most
and what matters not at all.
Can you tell me about hearts?
Mine is pretty deep these days,
but still I wonder how far hearts can stretch
especially in the moments when they work overtime.
I wonder if perhaps a heart does not break
But maybe snaps instead,
a little fragment breaking off so it can rest somewhere in isolation
where certain memories and longings cannot be harmed.
Sometimes I wonder if I am up to the task
of letting every broken fragment finds its resting place--
Even if it means I can’t be whole.
Tell me Rosie, do I have to be whole,
if given the chance for love to stretch me
so far beyond my safe walls
that I forget I am confused and instead
feel only gratitude and greatness?
Rosie girl, I will spend my days
asking questions like this
and letting the answers and clues
Guide me home.
And Rosie girl, I will run straight to you
even before your ears shoot up
For our hearts’ reunion of a lifetime.
Monday, June 13, 2016
Here I am once again lamenting with good reason. A few weeks ago my beloved daughter Jess had a routine procedure and routine labs following a routine flu and to our complete shock she has lymphoma. Cancer. Good God.
She will have chemotherapy at the renowned Dana Farber Institute and the doctors and pathology reports say the goal is cure. It appears a routine flu that led to a routine procedure and routine labs (we're told) may have saved her life. We are however stunned. Jess has four young children, the youngest is 2, a loving and equally stunned husband, good friends, and wonderful in-laws. But I live almost three hours away complete with summer vacation traffic.
So in fast speed fashion, I started looking for a little space near her that I could rent. She'll need help with the kids and maybe trips to chemo and medical appointments and maybe just knowing her Mother is close by. (I wish I could change places with her: in a flash I would.)
It turns out apartments close to Boston are not cheap. I called about twenty places and wasn't comfortable with any of them. Except one.
I somehow have secured a studio apartment in a renovated mill building where thirty condominium owners live. They had this community room that nobody used so they decided to convert it to the only apartment in the building. It has the same high end touches that the condos have: exposed brickwork, a private outdoor patio, a granite walk-in shower, central air conditioning, a washer and dryer, a full efficiency kitchen, and a layout that feels much larger than the studio space it is. I am over the moon with my good fortune. Jess can come here and be sick if the kids are too much and I am five minutes away. The space has the feel of a New York Soho loft. I imagine I will have time during many days when I will be on my own and I think I may write well here.
The downside to this, besides for the reason I'm here at all, is that JB is back in Provincetown and we will have to figure out when I'm there and when she's here. It will be a challenge. Both of us have been unwell and on edge for our various reasons and Jess with cancer has tipped us perilously close to defeat. But somehow the apartment's helping. As I write this I'm looking out at the stone patio and there are birds and one sweet chipmunk scurrying around.
I caught a break with this apartment. That's positively good news. And one thing I know about myself: I can build on good news.