How much it must bear on its back,
a great ball of blue shadow,
yet somehow it shines, keeps up
an appearance. For hours tonight,
I walked beneath it, learning.
I want to be better at carrying sorrow.
If my face is a mask, formed over
the shadows that fill me,
may I smile on the world like the moon.
–Naomi Shihab NyeWhen people have a lotthey want moreWhen people have nothingthey will happily share it*Some people saynever getting your waybuilds characterBy now our character must bedeep and wide as a continentAfrica, Australiagiant cascade of starsspilling over our huge night*Where did the power go?Did it enjoy its break?Is power exhausted?What is real power?Who really has power?Did the generator break?Do we imagine silencemore powerful becauseit might contain everything?Quiet always livesinside noise.But does it get much done?*Silence waitsfor truth to break it*Calendars can weep tooThey want us to have better days*Welcome to every minuteFeel lucky you’re still in it*No bird builds a wall*Sky pursejinglingchange*Won’t give upour hopesfor anything!*Not your faultYou didn’t make the world*How dare this go on and on?cried the person who believed in prayingGod willing God willing God willingThere were others who prayedto ruins & stumps*Open palmshold more*Refuse to givemistakestoo much power*Annoying person?Person who told me to stay homeand do what other girls do?If you disappearedI still might miss you*Babies want to help usThey laughfor no reason*Pay close attention toa drop of wateron the kitchen table*You cannot say one word about religionand exclude Ahmad
They are useless, there is nothing
to be done with them, no reason, only
the finding: letting myself down holding
to ironwood and the dry bristle of roots
into the creekbed, into clear water shelved
below the outcroppings, where crawdads spurt
through silt; clawing them out of clay, scrubbing
away the sand, setting them in a shaft of light
to dry. Sweat clings in the cliff’s downdraft.
I take each one up like a safecracker listening
for the lapse within, the moment crystal turns
on crystal. It is all waiting there in darkness.
I want to know only that things gather themselves
with great patience, that they do this forever.
I want to carry you
and for you to carry me
the way voices are said to carry over water.
Just this morning on the shore,
I could hear two people talking quietly in a row
boat on the far side of the lake.
They were talking about fishing,
then one changed the subject,
and, I swear, they began talking about you.
The Railway Children
When we climbed the slopes of the cutting
We were eye-level with the white cups
Of the telegraph poles and the sizzling wires.
Like lovely freehand they curved for miles
East and miles west beyond us, sagging
Under their burden of swallows.
We were small and thought we knew nothing
Worth knowing. We thought words travelled the wires
In the shiny pouches of raindrops,
Each one seeded full with the light
Of the sky, the gleam of the lines, and ourselves
So infinitesimally scaled
We could stream through the eye of a needle.