Valentine by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg


It’s all a matter of seeing what is right here:
the face of the beloved, the eyes closed,
graying lashes on the cheekbone. The eyes
open, blue washed into green, changing
in light and time. It is all necessary as
time or how remembering changes
the face, looking to see what comes
turns the head. It is all a matter of thinking,
What are you thinking? When did it start,
how can it end when the weight, the lightness
of this seeing makes the familiar new,
the unknown an old friend? It is all right
on the cusp of the horizon: deepening
blue folding back into orange behind the tree
behind you. It is all a matter of seeing
in the delicate and wild space between us
that isn’t really space at all, how whatever
we know can be erased and remade with the other.
How our time is not a force rushed through us,
but a kind of valentine we can open right now,
in the eyes of the other.

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg is the Poet Laureate of Kansas, and the author or editor of 16 books, including a novel, The Divorce Girl (Ice Cube Books); a non-fiction book, Needle in the Bone: How a Holocaust Survivor and Polish Resistance Fighter Beat the Odds and Found Each Other (Potomac Books); The Sky Begins At Your Feet: A Memoir on Cancer, Community & Coming Home to the Body (Ice Cube Books); the anthologies An Endless Skyway: Poetry from the State Poets Laureate (co-editor, Ice Cube Books) and Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems (editor, Woodley Press); and four poetry collections. Founder of Transformative Language Arts – a master’s program in social and personal transformation through the written, spoken and sung word – at Goddard College where she teaches, Mirriam-Goldberg also leads writing workshops widely, and with singer Kelley Hunt, writing and singing retreats.

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