when astronauts disappear behind the moon
and all contact with them is lost
until they reappear again; or when
firemen enter the burning building
and flames leap out of the hole they entered;
or during wartime as the train pulls out
of the station, a desperate hand waves
from the window, a voice calls out a name,
a voice the named one never hears again,
or when your child merges with a crowd-
those everlasting separations from
the people you love, the places you love,
to which you were intending to return.
But the moment passes, the trains arrives;
you enter a new country, fall in love,
marry, and build a house with postcard views
of snow-capped mountains, babbling brooks-
cliches yous never knew would feel so good.
But as you look out savoring the scene,
a chain of other mountains rise up,
a ghostly face composes in the clouds,
a loss you never though you would survive,
but here you are far stronger, more at home
and happier than you ever were before.
Those hard moments that take your breath away,
and literally will do so at the end,
pile up like causalities and treasures, both.
Hold on tight! could be the first commandment
for this life, and the second, Let it go!
Only the empty hand is free to hold.