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Because We Spill Not Only Milk

Because we spill not only milk Knocking it over with an elbow When we reach to wipe a small face But also spill seed on soil we thought was fertile but isn’t, And also spill whole lives, and only later see in fading light How much is gone and we hadn’t intended it

Because we tear not only cloth Thinking to find a true edge and instead making only a hole But also tear friendships when we grow And whole mountainsides because we are so many And we want to live right where black oaks lived, Once very quietly and still

Because we forget not only what we are doing in the kitchen And have to go back to the room we were in before, Remember why it was we left But also forget entire lexicons of joy And how we lost ourselves for hours Yet all that time were clearly found and held And also forget the hungry not at our table

Because we weep not only at jade plants caught in freeze And precious papers left in rain But also at legs that no longer walk Or never did, although from the outside they look like most others And also weep at words said once as though They might be rearranged but which Once loose, refuse to return and we are helpless

Because we are imperfect and love so Deeply we will never have enough days, We need the gift of starting over, beginning Again: just this constant good, this Saving hope.

~ Nancy Shaffer


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