What Presence



hell, it’s a love poem.

What Presence

You write “Her,”

and mean Everything

mean the meaning in things

beyond the skills for to say.

Mean “snow” – its ubiquity,

and “world” – the how-life

you never understand,

meaning “unaccountable.”

Your children.

Each day, and then breath,

and then seeing.


You write “She,”

or write “Hallie.”

Write her name and her flesh

(if you could).

Write her presence

again and again and again,

as your parent, your birthplace,

your burden.

You write wishing and ache

meaning “dream” and “desire,”

meaning meaning.

Meaning yes.  Meaning hope.

Meaning “here.”


But write “Her”

and mean “living.”

Meaning “friendship”

And “good-in-the-world.”

Meaning fire.

Meaning purpose

with music

and “love.”


Just writer “Her”

and mean”Being.”

N Filbert 2014

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The 44th Turn

You ache.

You are older,

and beautiful,

in the way piles of gravel

surprise you

along the turnpike.


Those gathered around you

are increasingly less –

less in years, less in words,

and less in common –

saving the uncommon

tastes and thoughts and talents.


You still have books

and a dimming light

and more than enough love.

You eat, you drink, and make merry.

Some things you remember together,



almost the necessary ones,

say a child, a lover, a poem.

There are gifts, a few –

those given you yourself

and to others –

“the allowance” –



care and celebration,

some sweet welcoming,

some join.


It’s alright,

she is here, beside you,

they are sleeping in their beds,

are scattered to the days,

are bleeding, are breathing


so much talk of labor

in our culture –

piles of effort

for finding peaceful paths,

to the country,

the cabin,

toward some freedom

to live.


We live.

Our days adding up

while counting down,

in strange measures –

now in years,

by the hours,

in moments.