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Friday, May 24, 2024


by Catherine Gonick

Tonglen, or “taking and giving” is a meditation where you imagine taking in others’ suffering as dark smoke and giving all that they need as bright light. —A Skeptic’s Path to Enlightenment

Asked to inhale
your pain

and to exhale
my compassion

I instead
inhale your righteous

feel fear

exhale my own
just rage in return

and too fast to notice
a fiery fence

springs up
the burning barricade

of exhaled words
that separates

my dangerous pain
and yours

and makes us equal
in unsafety

Catherine Gonick has published poetry in journals including Live Encounters, Notre Dame Review, Forgeand Beltway Poetry Quarterly, and in anthologies including Support Ukraine, Grabbed, and  Rumors, Secrets & Lies: Poems About Pregnancy, Abortion and Choice. She works in a company that slows the rate of global warming through projects that repair and restore the climate.