The First Miracle of the Day




The sandhill crane enters
the race at daybreak, declaring
she would be president of the day
with her promise of flight
and her lopsided laugh through that window
I forgot to close and latch last night.

The demos is up at dawn
and demands to be reckoned with
chickadees are into the pollen,
the birch crowds surround the house
to shout their green slogans
Now! Now! Now!

All right, already, I’m up
putting away my fraught dream
of a black-haired woman
carrying her child to safety—already forgetting
who the woman was, what safety offered—all I’m left
is the weight of the child and the drone
of the mother’s voice singing one word
over and over against the child’s temple

but now the word is gone
and the child has no name.

If these magpies would shut up,
job job job
and the light is hurting my eyes
Yes, Sun, I am aware
and awake and registered

in this world that did not crumble in the night
despite the plastic catastrophe of yesterday

Even the deaf can hear
the distant thunder of the unlocked
rivers rumbling in their march to join the sea

Even the blind can see
the tangerine light
velveting every surface
with un-temperate warmth

Even the dead understand
the gossip of contemporary worms budging downward
to the anthracitic rooms of ancient worms
the earth is untightening
making space for more of us

The Elect will know who they are
soon enough for already the first miracle of the day
travels ding-toed and nose down
along our dirt road, the collie named Hola!
leading Erma, my eighty-year-old neighbor
toward a brightening mountain in the East

From behind she looks like a waterfall
her waist a vigorous coursing, supple and clear,
her free hand a flower floating at her side

The sandhill croaks one last time
from on high amongst her rally of clouds
but Erma’s eyes are poor
so when she looks up
she spills into blue



— Arlitia Jones, April 30, 2016





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