This is what life does, as an act of great
though often misunderstood kindness — it brings us
over and over again to the same sorrows.
For instance, the same emergency room
where I crouch beside the gurney on which lies
someone I love whose face is dulled by pain. And life
says, Here you are again, and gently
pulls the outer leaves away,
like I do with the woolly plants called lamb’s ear,
the thickest, softest gray-green petals I can find,
so I can touch the dew held at the hidden center.
Or I could be the one on the gurney; it doesn’t matter.
Of course the dew at the center is love,
though it is also grief.
Of course it is only by touching it, not just with a finger
but with the entire self, exhausted, despairing, and willing,
that we can know they are the same thing,
ceaselessly making and remaking us
in every form that life would have us take,
so it can know itself through us, so we can know
a single thing — just one.