where knives don’t cut…
At the Water
The Way In
–Linda HoganSometimes the way to milk and honey is through the body.Sometimes the way in is a song.But there are three ways in the world: dangerous, wounding,and beauty.To enter stone, be water.To rise through hard earth, be plantdesiring sunlight, believing in water.To enter fire, be dry.To enter life, be food.
–Linda HoganI am always watching the single heron at its place alone at water, its open eye, one leg lifted or wading without seeming to move. It is a mystery seen but never touched until this morning when I lift it from its side where it lays breathing. I know the beak that could attack, that unwavering golden eye seeing me, my own saying I am harmless, but if I had that eye, nothing would be safe. The claws hold tight my hand, its dun-brown feathers, and the gray so perfectly laid down. The bird is more beautiful than my hand, skin more graceful than my foot, my own dark eye so much more vulnerable, the heart beating quickly, its own language speaking, You could kill me or help me. I know you and I have no choice but to give myself up and in whatever supremacy of this moment, hold your human hand with my bent claws.
The Anatomy of the Heart
This is not an attack, as they say. It is a broken heart.
Ask me if you can die from a broken heart
and I will tell you, Yes,
if I could speak that word.
If they ask can you die from broken land
I would also say, Yes.
There is the beating thread of connection
in this place where we have felt our great love
though others have hated our presence
and stolen our land
sent us away
to the streets
and yet how magnificent the world has been
in other places I have seen.
You can understand why your heart could let you down,
would leave you to fall,
would even close itself
where the arteries all meet
like great rivers.
They want to travel
out into the world of the body
with beautiful waters,
to larger seas.
How fragile it all is now
inside this speeding, lighted, screaming
machine, the roadway a path for possibility
for myself who always knew the fragility of the
That was what I suffered in the tender organ.
It is the sacrificed in the stories I have never believed
or wanted to hear, oh the beautiful heart, in love,
or forlorn, most vulnerable, most venerable.
It is only broken.
It is only a broken heart,
I want to say.
Home in the Woods
Oh home in the woods,
I am here as one hungry to eat,
one with no bread
in the garden of trees
in a place where the stone wishes to blossom.
Bullets have gone to sleep
and with effort the water
flows the way it once did.
Here, in winter, there is enough
dry wood for heat
and I enter smiling, forgetting our history.
Can you bring me to the place
where pollen is now the light
and we remember the original song?
Can you keep me
here? Can you unharm me?