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  • Writer's pictureAnne Mitchell


Before you reach for the hand of grace

you must shed skin.

Sense all comfort molt from shattered cells

like needles from a dead pine in the wind.

What you sculpted with might,

What you wetted and willfully casted,

all these works must crumble so you feel

the absence of clay

inside the negative space of grace.

How you scan and search,

believing the carpet’s magic never runs dry,

while elders eat spam and canned pears

and transfix on the TV like an old friend’s yarn.

Before you taste the sweet broth of stars,

you must float over someone’s grandmother in a soiled blue robe,

lifeless by the exit of her home.

You must see this scene as possibly your own.

How she also once had a family

and hopscotched alongside time and dreams,

and the honest belief that love knocks to come in.

Before you reach grace at the bottom of your core,

you will find pain is there to open the door.

You will sleep with your loss.

You will wear it til your skin

breathes in the song of all losses

and you memorize the words in every language.

Then it is grace who arrives in her cape,

grace that puts the pen in your hand

and urges you out into the unfamiliar to listen for their stories.

For grace reaches out

from the sadness of the world and nods,

It’s time for us to go

and then travels in your pocket

like a supernova or a pearl.

Thank you Naomi Shahib Nye for Kindness


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