To Have Without Holding

It’s so simple–if still a mystery–that which flows freely where it will. Love is like water that way. It’s possible to divert. It’s possible to contain.  But to do so is wholly unnatural.

Twenty-one and broken open, against every instinct, I released my baby to the unknown. Sometime, in the aftermath, in a circle of women–friends, sisters, lovers–I realized what it would take me years to realize. Everything is calling us (in Marge’s moon voice): love with the hands wide open, with the doors banging on their hinges, the cupboard unlocked.

It became an imperfect and failed practice, a working theory of the heart. Beautiful even in its failure.

I didn’t understand that trying to let go was the same as trying to hold on.

The grasping–it got worse before it got better. But even the grasping I love now. I love it like my own child held in the arms of an infinite sky.

Somewhere, on a flattened map of the heavens, my sun sits opposite yours. In that intersection of space and time, I could not miss the light of your burning.


[For C, C, and A.  With deep gratitude to Marge Piercy, whose poem “To Have Without Holding,” has nourished me for years.]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s