These Human Days

These Human Days August 20, 2012

Read Mark’s weekly reflections on The Huffington Post.

Being human is a gritty mystery. We are the most gentle, resilient creatures on Earth. Through our humanness, things that don’t seem to go together show their underlying connection. This poem is a weave of ordinary events that opened a telling moment for me.


As the fog lifted, we sat on the couch,

our dog sleeping between us, her fur

with that familiar smell. Our hands

met in the tuft of her neck. Later,

after a very bad movie, we fell into

each other for the thousandth time.

Quiet and naked, I thought, how

seldom we are naked. No masks. No

covering. Your lips were soft. They’re

always soft. And in that softness, it’s

unclear where I end and you begin.


Today I’m in the dentist chair, deep

long drilling around old nerves. Five

shots to numb along the bone. As he

drills, I loft into his eyes. He’s such a

good man. The dog, your lips, his kind

eyes drilling, the fog lifting. I start to

tear. Such a privilege to feel.


Now I’m in the car and the rain is

coaxing the grass on the side of the

road. My jaw aches and what wants

to be said waits under that ache. The

longer this goes, the stronger and more

vulnerable I am. Like two blades

of grass splitting the sidewalk.


A Question to Walk With: What is your history with being vulnerable? What has being vulnerable taught you?

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