pressed against the forehead of night
purring in their own language,
a system I couldn’t crack.
Dusk with its desperate colors of erasure,
battered blue, wine-flushed.
The wind whispers a secret
to the long-haired maples,
something dark and puzzling.
Squirrels in the live oaks
and wingbeats shuddering the treetops
become a kind of song
that swims up out of the past.
In spite of everything, the stars
shimmer in the distance;
the moon comes out to stare,
Fireflies pulse in the woods
like a heart beating
to the rhythm of
We are here, yes, we are still here.
There is a brief, startling moment
when I fly out of myself,
forget the impossible weight of being human,
become a thick black fist
tilting on one wing,
knowing the sweet kinship of rising,
unraveling the sky.
All night I hear voices
clear as a country lake, pure, bottomless:
Listen, this song is for you.
Try to remember
you are a descendant of
the whirling cosmos and water.
At a crossroads, I meet the dead,
the old griefs harbored in my chest
ike a thick chunk of fat.
I feel homesick waves.
Poured out like a bucket of wild berries,
I come back to my body,
willing to remember
I am becoming a holy place,
wreathing myself in the living fire.
I want to taste the sweetness,
unfold into a world of reverie,
feasting on darkness but needing light,
slowly curling myself back into
a vessel of tenderness
traveling toward incandescence.
*Cento of lines/phrases from Edward Hirsch’s collection Living Fire