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Nights in the Neighborhood by Linda Gregg

I don’t desire much these days. Only that I get to be well, and take care of myself, as I should, which honestly I haven’t been very good at these past couple of years. I’m trying though. Or should I say: I’m learning.

I suppose, it’s because after all the wanting, I have arrived at that point when some things are clearer. For example: what I am meant to be doing for the rest of my life. For example: who I am at the core, and how that’s separate from what I’m going through, because really, life happens, and the world, and the universe, and to not be able to keep up with it at times is okay. For example: the people I love, and that small overlap with the people who love me, which is nice. For example: the truth that I am going to always be a little bit sad. For example: that there are days when I am not strong enough to go at it alone, and that I need help, which is okay, too.

I think I have been lost for a long time now. I think maybe I even encourage that, sometimes. I think I’m so used to being lost that it’s started to give me roots in the abyss, and I tell myself it’s the only place I’ve ever known, the only space where I’ll be loved. I think maybe it’s time to be found.

I turn twenty-nine today. It’s past midnight. I could feel my old self stirring about, dusting the corners. Not ready to leave yet, perhaps. Sticking it out for another year, perhaps.

I suppose, it’s because after all the grief, the husk remains.

Happy birthday, self. It’s funny how life works, but I think you already know that.

Nights in the Neighborhood
Linda Gregg

I carry joy as a choir sings,
but quietly as the dark
carols. To keep the wind away
so the hidden ones will come
out into the street and add
themselves to this array of
stars, constellations and moon.
I notice the ones in pain
shine more than the others.
It’s so they can be found,
I think. Found and harbored.

This is from The Sacraments of Desire by Linda Gregg, published by Graywolf Press, 1995.

Comments (13)

  • matt

    Have a happy birthday, T. <3

    I'll be twenty-nine in October. It's a funny feeling. Life feels more like a dream, nowadays. One you wouldn't mind letting go of, waking up.

    But do we ever wake up, or just fall deeper asleep?

    For some, perhaps life is an act of descending, yet still towards the surface of their being. Not quickly, but with care and tenderness.

    I do believe that it is possible to be found, even in the abyss. Found by someone, or something.

    Take care,


  • katelr23

    It’s amazing how you put just the right words to what I feel. Thank you again for sharing these posts with us. I love them. Wishing you a year of fresh possibilities, and at least a few realized dreams.
    (And M — your comment is beautiful.)

  • Happy day to you, beautiful creature. Here is to a year of becoming found, may it be gentle on your heart and filled with strange magic.

  • darren

    I’m reminded of your recent post, Burning the Old Year, by N. S. Nye. “So much of any year is flammable…” In the midst of the wanting, the losing, the bereavement, here’s to you, and myself, finding… being found…learning…shining!
    Happy Birthday!

  • Happiest of birthdays, T., and many more to come. And please know and hold fast, most of all on the days when clouds gather, that you are a rare and precious person. I feel privileged to have come to know you.

  • Happy birthday, I hope it was all that you wanted it to be. It’s amazing how the universe works. I could say a lot of things but at this moment I’ll say, thank you T.

  • I like small poems like these. And those last two lines really make one think, do they not? We must reach out to those in need because that’s what we would like when we are in need.
    And happy birthday, T., whoever you are, and many thanks for the poetry.

  • veronica uy

    happy birthday, t

  • whoa! we’re about to discuss Linda Gregg today (in class) and I stumbled upon this page. fascinating!

  • Hi T. I find your poetry place here a sanctuary.

    I have come here for comfort when I am feeling that the whole world I’ve built around me is changing so quickly. When I’m on top of the world, I also come here to find the best expression of joy.

    This is a beautiful place to feel.

  • C

    T, wherever you are, I hope you’re well.


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