Audio clip: “Anyone Who Has Left Love” (by Sharon Olds)

Asian young businesswoman in business suit

Read by me.

Anyone who has left love,
who has stepped out of the boat, onto
the water, learns what they had not known
or wanted to. Anyone
who turns their back on love, as if
it might not take too long for them to go
all the way around and come up behind it—
anyone who lets love go,
opens their hand while walking through
a crowd, as if getting, piece by piece,
rid of evidence, will lose,
along with evidence of the thing,
the thing itself. Anyone
who sets love down, and takes their eyes
away, anyone who travels far
when love is home, anyone
who homes alone when love is far,
will lose what cannot be found. Maybe they
thought love was the earth under
the road, or the road under the sole
of the shoe or the foot under the body but by now it is
back there. It was a bush like a fire,
and now—no more fragrance or light
will be inhaled, or seen, as when
you die you will not see the world again.
Even if you thought you had not
believed you were loved, something in you
knew that you were—and you stepped right off love’s roof.

Artwork credit

Ten years (with audio clip)

Margo Banks’s mixed media piece (shown above) is intriguingly called “Keep Your Heart Open to Everything.” The image itself is a mystery, at least as it relates to the title, yet the animal’s kinetic energy, however contained it might be by four sides, somehow reminds me that in the years, or seconds, that remain of my life I must proceed as fearlessly as I can. It has been a decade since I started this blog, but when I try to remember who I was back then I am not able to see myself clearly. I can recall that I careered often between despair and hope, dread and equanimity, longing and indifference. Loving and not wanting to love. I can remember, too, how skittish I was about offering up what seemed at the time the very smallest of voices.

Artwork credit