What Remains


To bear time is

to release time,

to drop in the ancient stone bowl

this bead of a spring afternoon

when I watch you, my children,

walking down the path to the outside world 

together, laughing

like when you were toddlers,

but you are young adults now,

lithe and full-hearted before this world

we have handed you

(O I am sorry for its wounds), 

stepping into the long, green afternoon

of Japanese magnolia and flowering pear.

I wonder if I will remember this moment

at the time I need it.


Mostly, I shoulder time like a weight.

My hair, silvered strands catching on branches,

body, softening, slowing;

life settled into form, function--

rootedness sparring with change

until I cannot bear 


To gain a heart of wisdom, I must 

no longer

number my days:

release the clock that haunts

my small self, 

lusting after illusions of influence

which will decay, scatter, leave no mark


Unless I learn timelessness,

I will never glimpse

the dwelling place of generations.

How I miss them, the dead ones

who have stepped through the impassive door,

artist souls who have now escaped the errands, 

grocery trips, taking out the trash, 

and the slow, wrenching indignities of body diminishment,

They whisper: Look. Wait.

Here is the open place of white page 

and long sunlit afternoon with nothing

but color to spill on it. 

Bring anything you find,

scraps, stones, and sunbleached shells.

Come in, dwell here, you can go home

when you remember. 

And the earth turns, 

a fistful of carmine petals scatters from the sky

and beauty rests upon each uplifted finger, 

outstretched, trembling, 

waiting for what will come,

the next color, bold curve,

the clean heart, 

then, finally, hollowed out so as to hold everything,

the dust,

the wind.

— Dee Dee Risher

Dee Dee is an author and editor, retreat leader, and activist. Her book, The Soulmaking Room explores how we can use grief, failure, and loss to deepen our faith journey and make us more authentic. She lives in Philadelphia at the Vine and Fig Tree community. She loves gardening, cooking, and laughing with her two crazy kids and covenant partner, Will O’Brien.

Contact: deedeerisher [at] gmail.com