We leave this life with what is
in the pockets of the heart.
Untie the laces, undo the button,
this one is dead.

Papa would say that life is
ky und shpy, chew and spit,
then he'd close his eyes
and turn his face toward the sun.

We spend a lifetime learning what dogs know.
The map of warm light on the floor
as it moves through the day, the sound
of a key unlocking the door,
taste of fingertips and cheek,
the pleasure of caress.

The life I chose is rich
in harmonies and contradictions.
The life life chose for me has fistfuls
of feeling both joy and surrender,
explosive surprise and islands of peace.

When people ask if I'm afraid of death
I say death is nothing. How can I be
afraid of nothing? I'm afraid of losing life.
Life is something and I am greedy,
greedy for the something of life.
Not the trinkets, but what we carry
in the pockets of our heart.

from Make Your Way Across This Bridge: New & Selected Writings (2003)