Beyond measure

"What we care about most, we call beyond measure."
                                                                                     - Jane Hirshfield

meaning, where is the language 
to convey the weight and depth of what 
we carry in two hands; a breakable body;
scars, landscapes of doubt
clouding its mind? If not, then I 
have heard this condition described 
as the ineffable—which  always 
makes me think of porous or volatile 
materials. The sea, for instance.
Skin. Rain that, even as it falls and hits
the humid ground, begins reassembling
as steam and cloud. Confronted with
sadness upon sadness, I used to think
a world always on the brink of ending.
I used to think I would fold if not
become petrified, immobile.
I didn't know how much I'd come 
to bear, even of the unasked-for.
In the thrift store before closing, 
on Christmas Eve, a handful of people
thumb through trays of vintage 
jewelry, crushed hats, shoes of worn
leather, hunting for a clasp, a bit
of rubbed velvet. Looking, 
listening for signals of another act, 
an encore. Not flourishes, though,
or any of the intricate caprices;
the single line of music delivers 
the sharpest pang. Cantabile, 
meaning songlike. Meaning 
what wakes the deepest silences
before you even become aware.


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