When my heart breaks, I will be a gleaner: a poem

When my heart breaks,

I will be a gleaner in the fields.

I will gather everything that is scattered,

I will leave nothing to be discarded.

My hands will collect the husks,

the broken pieces,

like blessings.

There is nothing I will reject here,

nothing that will not give me nourishment,

nothing that my body can’t transform

into a new thing, a thing that fuels me.

I will walk behind the threshers

in the razed, spent fields,

and I will find what I need to survive.

I will gather the fragments,

I will sweep them together,

I will inhale their brokenness

through my skin,

through my eyes and ears,

through my sensibilities,

through my longing.

I will absorb them into myself anew,

composting everything.

Everything.

Let there be no waste for one who is hungry,

one who is curious,

one who is clever with her hands.

 

In Jane Hirshfield’s Nine Gates, she writes of the poet as a gleaner. Finishing that book earlier this month, this meditation came to my mind. Am I the narrator? Maybe, maybe not. It’s never that simple.

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