08/20/2012 01:31 pm ET | Updated Oct 20, 2012

These Human Days

Being human is a gritty mystery. We are the most gentle, resilient creatures on Earth. Through our humanness, things that don't seem to go together show their underlying connection. This poem is a weave of ordinary events that opened a telling moment for me.

As the fog lifted, we sat on the couch,
our dog sleeping between us, her fur
with that familiar smell. Our hands
met in the tuft of her neck. Later,
after a very bad movie, we fell into
each other for the thousandth time.
Quiet and naked, I thought, how
seldom we are naked. No masks. No
covering. Your lips were soft. They're
always soft. And in that softness, it's
unclear where I end and you begin.

Today I'm in the dentist chair, deep
long drilling around old nerves. Five
shots to numb along the bone. As he
drills, I loft into his eyes. He's such a
good man. The dog, your lips, his kind
eyes drilling, the fog lifting. I start to
tear. Such a privilege to feel.

Now I'm in the car and the rain is
coaxing the grass on the side of the
road. My jaw aches and what wants
to be said waits under that ache. The
longer this goes, the stronger and more
vulnerable I am. Like two blades
of grass splitting the sidewalk.

A Question to Walk With: What is your history with being vulnerable? What has being vulnerable taught you?

For more Poetry for the Soul, click here.

For more by Mark Nepo, click here.

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