Bill Wolak







Love Opens the Hands    


Only the heart enjoys

this fishing without a net;

beauty locks all the doors

and disaster breaks them down.


Long absence resonates anticipation

like the guesswork of desire,

but deep roots grow

deliberately around rock

so that any guest who finally arrives

eclipses the sun becoming the feast

and the wine and the dessert.


Touch the scar, and it

will offer some astounding advice:

loveliness fades, but not grace;

the world loves lightning

less than fire.


Love opens the hands for kindness.

and kindness is a debt

you never tire of repaying.



Lost at the Crossroads


This journey begins

with a single glance.

Burn like an ember

in a heap of cold ashes.

Love’s not a choice;

it’s the habit of kindness.

You’ve finally reached

the desired marketplace.

But what do you have left

to trade for a smile?

You lost your bearings

at the crossroads.

The guide only earns respect

in the middle of the desert.




Become a River


If you spend your entire life

dealing with impostors and cheats,

how can you be surprised

when everyone recognizes

you as a swindler?

Anger threatens you most.

Envy paralyzes you.

You’re like dust

darkening a mirror.

You’ve always craved a different path.

So begin now while you still can.

Wander in this world

like welcomed kisses

across astonished flesh.

Those who love embrace

with the impatience of wind and fire.

Those who love become a river

offering to carry everything to the sea.




Snowflakes Blown into a Keyhole


Don’t keep avoiding love.

A raindrop disappears

effortlessly with a single kiss

into the restless sea.


Sometimes strangers

from a shipwreck arrive

parched and thirsty.

Sometimes survivors

burnt in a fire turn up

trembling from the cold.

You believe your numbness

is the end of the story.

But it’s only a symptom

of the body suffering withdrawal.


Even after generosity

turns your hair gray,

keep searching for the one

counting on your kindness.

Lovers find each other

mysteriously like snowflakes

blown into a keyhole.




How Strangely Love Endures


How strangely love endures,

transformed into something

almost unrecognizable.

The one who betrayed you,

who you studied to forget,

still blushes slightly whenever

someone mentions your name.

The one you abandoned

without a second thought,

returns in a dream with accusations

that make you feel

more ashamed than startled.

You trapped yourself

in the most bewildering nets

during those days when you believed

you could escape unscathed.

But even beyond blame and forgiveness,

love lingered to offer a beggar’s blessing.



© Bill Wolak









Bill Wolak is a poet who lives in New Jersey and teaches Creative Writing at William Paterson University. He has just published his thirteenth collection of poetry entitled Love Opens the Hands: New and Selected Love Poems with Nirala Press. His poetry has appeared in over a hundred magazines. His most recent translation with Mahmood Karimi-Hakak, Love Me More Than the Others: Selected Poetry or Iraj Mirza, was published by Cross-Cultural Communications in 2014.




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