Unlike blood relations, it is necessary here to earn one’s position in the community ... far more dedication than men invest in the careless moment of procreation.I think that’s part of what i was trying to get at when i talked about “given” versus “chosen” family. We put all this emphasis on blood ties, and generally they are the people who know us best, who will do the most for us, but sometimes it’s just an accident, a coincidence, and there is no reason why they should have such claim on us. Later in the book the narrator says, “Greeting cards routinely tell us everybody deserves love. No. Everybody deserves clean water. Not everybody deserves love all the time.” I disagree, but i do think that people have to earn an valued place in your life.
My brother told me, without prompting, that one of the poems of mine he used in his anthology was really good, in this tone that says it’s the kind of poetry that will go into real anthologies one day. Coming from my nearly-sixteen-year-old brother who hates poetry, i thought that was high praise indeed and was duly touched. He thought the haiku was good, too, but really this one was the best.
Writing Backwards on Foggy Windows
No two snowflakes are alike.
They teach you that since grade school.
What they don’t tell you
is that every love is different.
Just when you think you understand it,
can see it coming,
can handle it
like a vintage car,
the snowplow rear-ends you
on an icy street
in the middle of July.
Now everything’s new and frightening again.
Every word, every look,
has a hidden meaning.
Like a child,
you navigate this new landscape
balancing on subtlety.
Courage comes from the heart,
but fear comes from love too.
If your heart is this fragile
inside your chest,
rocking on the tumult of your gut,
how could you possibly let it go
into the hands of someone else?
But plants sheltered
from the glare of the noonday sun
And the snow only falls
when the temperature hovers achingly
around that freezing point.