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An Inventory of Love

I. How Many Kinds of Love? 

 

Steve asked me how many kinds of love there are. 

Until he asked, I had simply thought “Love.” 

 

But I told him:  

 

I love my parents,  

(in spite of the ways they have failed me) 

 

I love my friends,   

(and they are many) 

 

I love Isabel,  

(though she is not even my blood child) 

 

I love God,   

(just because I do and in spite of the name being often misused) 

 

I love my clients,  

(because, I think, we open our hearts to each other) 

 

I love my lover,  

(the most vulnerable love of all-body, soul, spirit, and heart) 

 

I love my cat,  

(because he is who he is, because he likes to play, because we don’t have to talk, because he loves me, too) 

 

I love snowstorms,  

(they show me man is not in charge, and they are cold, and they are wet and soft) 

 

I love the animals,  

(they speak with their eyes, they go about their business) 

 

I love the woods,  

(they have so much to offer when I let them and respect them) 

 

I love Europe,  

(it has challenged my mind, fed my senses with foods, language, art, cathedrals, history, tradition)

 

I love Central America,  

(when I am there, I want to dance) 

 

I love speaking French,  

(just because it makes me happy)… 

 

 

II. The Deepest Chambers of My Heart 

 

Nestor told me, before he died,  

“May you always feel me  

in the deepest chambers of your heart 

where true pure love and connection 

always reside.  I’ll be there.” 

 

(He is.  I do.) 

 

 

III. Panim 

 

Reb Tirzah said to us in Hebrew there is no word for “face,” only “faces.” 

“Panim,” the “faces of God.” It is never singular. 

 

Are there as many chambers of my heart 

as there are types of love, 

as there are faces of God? 

 

I feel aches, 

scurrying movement in the chambers. 

They are loves lost 

or temporarily out of sight. 

 

It is a large hotel. 

In the morning the guests  

begin to rise for the day, 

brush their teeth, begin talking, 

order coffee to their rooms. 

 

I am Horton, and I hear  

the Whos in Who-ville. 

 

 

IV. There’s No Going Back 

 

Jennifer taught the group that once you have opened  

your heart to love, deepened into intimacy, 

there is no backward slipping. 

You can start there with the next person 

if you are unlucky enough to lose the first. 

 

On days when I feel action 

in the hotel, 

movement in many chambers, 

 

when emotional ache is reflected in my organ, 

 

when I look at Nestor’s picture, for example, 

and can almost feel him but can’t, 

 

actually, 

 

 

touch  

 

 

 

 

 

him, 

 

I wonder will there truly be more room, and I need help. 

 

(I am typing this poem even though the letters have all rubbed off the keys.) 

 

The guests can open endless chambers more 

with their activity, I suspect. 

 

Because from deep in my heart, 

I am now telling you this: 

 

the number of rooms  

is as infinite  

as the number  

of faces  

of God. 

 

What is being asked of me is to keep opening the door. 

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