One river gives
Its journey to the next.
We give because someone gave to us.
We give because nobody gave to us.
We give because giving has changed us.
We give because giving could have changed us.
We have been better for it,
We have been wounded by it—
Giving has many faces: It is loud and quiet,
Big, though small, diamond in wood-nails.
Its story is old, the plot worn and the pages too,
But we read this book, anyway, over and again:
Giving is, first and every time, hand to hand,
Mine to yours, yours to mine.
You gave me blue and I gave you yellow.
Together we are simple green. You gave me
What you did not have, and I gave you
What I had to give—together, we made
Something greater from the difference.
Copyright © 2014 by Alberto Ríos. Used with permission of the author.
It’s funny how things come in
You, sitting on a step,
smoking a cigarette,
watching leaves fall off a
slowly stripping tree.
Me, hanging photos on a wall,
including one of you
receiving, like a priestess,
your lover’s confession.
Me telling stories of
when your dad asked you
how you were.
Me writing poems about life
while I was slowly plunging into
You breathing in those
sitting on a step,
smoking a cigarette.
“Circle” Originally published in Readings from the Book of Exile (Canterbury Press, 2012). Copyright © 2012 by Pádraig Ó Tuama. Reprinted with the permission of the poet.’