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I hear it on the border of our clamor —

the dawn-soaked promise

of chirping birds

above unbroken crusts of snow.

Just as the frozen earth

begins to glow with morning,

they carry on conversing

over interrupted matters.

I only catch snippets

from my nest of wood and stone,

but I'm old enough to know

what it means: renewal.

A second chance. The quiet

reemergence of stems and leaves

and all discarded hopes of

just what we could be

last year. The future is

here now. Are you who you

wanted to be, now? Have you

conquered that fear, now?

Did you seek adventure,

the way that introverted,

little heart of yours


Did you set fire to obsession,

let it burn in the branches

of a wintered tree — an effigy

of whom we've finished being?

Did you find love

in the arms of a stranger,

turn him (or her)

into a fellow pioneer?

Have you gone anywhere

but here? Or have you stayed,

where the devils are familiar and

request the same drinks every day?

It's not a failure

if you haven't. We all

want to grow but

have no idea what that

looks like. How we go

about cleaving off

unhelpful parts of us

like stone hiding sculpture.

They never told us

how to live without

being miserable. It was

just assumed we'd find our way.

So it's okay if,

at your springtime table,

you find you're barely

able to face yourself,

if resolutions to be

someone else seem hollow.

You don't need another

self or life or past.

You can grow despite

all the chaos that

consumes you. Growth

is just resuming

being you.

And they'll see it.

And they'll love you, too,

the way they always have.

Birds never feel bad

for starting over.

The sun doesn't curse

his habit track.

We ebb and flow like

solemn, fearsome oceans.

And we demand to live

the time we won't get back.


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