I will never recover from your love

From one of my favorite poets, Naomi Shihab Nye:

“What People Do”

November    November     November    the days crowd together
like families of leaves    in a dry field
I pick up a round stone     take it to my father
who lies in bed waiting for his heart to mend
and he turns it over and over in his hands

My father is writing me the story of his village
He tells what people did    in another country
before I was born how his best friend was buried alive
and the boy survived two days in the ground
how my father was lowered into a well on ropes to discover
clay jars a thousand years old    how each jar held seeds
carob and melon    and the villagers chose secrecy
knowing the British would come with trucks and dig up their town

My father’s handwriting changes from page to page
sometimes a wild scrawl and disconnected letters
sometimes a new serious upward slant

And me    I travel the old roads again and again
wearing a different life in a house surrounded by trees
At night the dropping pecans make little clicks above us
Doors closing

More and more I understand what people do
I appreciate the daily braveries    clean white shirts
morning greetings between old men

Again I see how    once the boat tips    you never forget
the sensation of drowning
even if you sing yourself the familiar songs

Today my face is stone    my eyes are buckets
I walk the streets lowering them into everything
but they come up empty

I would tell my father
I cannot move one block without you
I will never recover from your love
yet I stand by his bed saying things I have said before
and he answers and we go on this way
smoothing the silences
nothing can heal


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