December 1: Ginkgos; In the Late Afternoon: Two Moments; & Memo to Self: Ten Reasons for Love

Memo to Self: Ten Reasons for Love


1.  Go ahead and fill your life with love

Let it be hot cocoa in February

Make it water from a cold outdoor spigot

When mama Gaia turns up the burning heat


2.  Let it spill over the bucket of your brain


3.  Everyone has the same destiny so why not


4.  Make yourself ready

by swimming in the pathless ocean of love

until you cannot


5.  They say God loves a shattered heart

and also a soft one    and a wild one that sparkles   


6.  Float on your back and watch the fleeting clouds

let your hair float around you

kick gently

move your arms a little

breathe in and let the ocean support you

loving you because you are its child


7.  Love is unreasonable


8.  Once when someone asked me if I could make a

poem of two words, I said why not.


9.  Here is a beguiling instance of love:

the low registers of the humpback whale-song

traveling ten thousand miles through the ocean

to anyone with ears like another whale


10.  Sometimes what God loves is a heart of steel

sometimes God loves horror movies and splatter movies

I cannot love him     I can love his bride

of many names


Alicia Ostriker has published nineteen collections of poetry, been twice nominated for the National Book Award, and has twice received the National Jewish Book Award for Poetry, among other honors. Her most recent books are Waiting for the Light (2017) and The Volcano Sequence and After: Selected and New Poems 2002–2019 (2020), both from University of Pittsburgh Press. She was New York State Poet Laureate from 2018 to 2021.