INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE DAY AFTER
Let us start with the difficult miracle of being,
the wild ravening of a creek
singing the falsetto and minor keys
through a million throats of gravel
the alders turning towards a sharper green.
Now let us pause a moment
on this bench, beside the trail
and look across the lagoon
to those boys at play in sand.
Sound travels so perfectly over water,
but tell me, is it Farsi or Hebrew
they are speaking?
Six gulls, white as tombstones, fly overhead.
After all these epochs,
in the salt light of January, elk and deer grazing
on this new green after rain,
let us consider that we are still walking
over the leach fields of slavery and genocide.
Now let us take inventory of our terror:
our longing as a lyric violence,
our flesh as shroud and veil.
How last night, in pitch black,
the coyotes were not just calling,
for something deeply torn.
Today, let us consider repair.
How the smaller of the two boys
kneels at the mirror of the dark water,
like the congressman who spent the night on his knees,
picking up glass and bullet casings from the rotunda floor.
Let us remember that old story about god
shattering his own perfection
to make room for this world.
As for giving up on America, do you hear it too—
that young boy calling to his brother—
how, in the mouth of a young child,
every language sounds like water
leaping, tumbling into song?
—from Poets Respond
January 17, 2021
Julia B. Levine: “Already the January 6th violent attack on the Capitol has been added to Wikipedia. There is a mystic belief in god’s perfection that needed to be shattered in order for this world to appear. Our job is to try and repair it the best we can. This helps.”