Climate (1)

Climate (1) | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Illustration by Anibal Gonzalez, artworxLA student artist.

My gift in the new silence
is the old silence. To see myself
in an armful of swords or the person beneath
who curls one hand as if to welcome the blessing.
All night I dream of the ones, who are even now walking and the pacing,
the gait, the slide, slippage from side to side,
the way the prow of a boat breaks into the water
or sunlight cuts glass.  I know we are on the precipice.
I know the calling we do is about learning the futility
of turning back.  Once after a fire, we laid out the shoes
on the slightly blackened lawn—all morning we slid
our feet in and out of those shoes, feeling the softness
of ash or the way tears disintegrate, only suggesting
the rivers they were born from. 
This morning an owl flying in the air above the catalpa
before dawn, holding it in its claws the blue
body of a field mouse. That we should be so hungry
like every other thing that lives.

Sheila Black is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Vivisection, forthcoming from Salmon Poetry. A founding member of Zoeglossia, she lives in San Antonio, Texas.
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