twenty-fifth june ~~~~~~   Leave a comment

Page Seventeen


when I was homeless,
when I slept in a shelter-slum,
there came to a diner windowsill,
a certain squirrel looking in,
looking at me as if knowing all the love in me,
feeling all the grief.
a squirrel staring through a pane of glass
drew authentic laughter
from my throat,
in days when laughter was a ruse.


when I had no home,
when I hung here and hung there all the hours,
slogging over sidewalks from one pit-stop to the next,
there was a flock of sparrows in a shrub at city hall.
sparrow-hops and swoops and chatter, snapping
up the presents I would bring.
sparrows handed bits of meaning
back to me
in a meaningless murdering of time.


when I was thrown out to streets,
the first homeless summer came.
I trudged with tea and muffin to breakfast at
a bus stop.
fourth july early, alone and alone,
sitting on a granite slab.
a chipmunk, of all things
sat up beside the muffin on the stone,
fixed me with question eyes,
and so began the meal.
she ate the chunks I put before her,
ate and sat and asked for more.
she, the only one happy to eat with me
on a summer’s holiday.


when I was tormented at another slum and fled,
when I slept outside on the bank of a canal,
some neighbors were two hundred geese.
at sunset dusk and dawn dusk
they throated a mid-tone lullaby
to sleep me and to wake me, all in song.
no other sang to my sleep and my mornings.
when I lay on the ground in the fog and chill,
there was the generous music of geese.


when they ordered me off the canal,
when I slept on cement in a bandstand in a park,
I had a sudden family.
the squirrels, the jays and the crows were my kin,
came into my bandstand, stood on my sleeping bag,
ate from my hand.
called to me at daybreak, walked in to me if I stayed in bed.
saint anne of the peanuts and seeds I was,
princess of pastries and corn,
a goddess of bounty and gentle, smiling speech.
the world walked by every minute,
the world to whom I was freak and joke.
yet to my family, to crows and jays and squirrels,
I was the center of all good gifts.


I won’t forget what they gave me,
nor forget what people withheld.
the open hearts were where they’d always been:
in nature.
the closed ones were, as ever, in the drones.


I will not forget.
had I my land,
I would build a shrine to geese,
to chipmunks and squirrels,
to bluejays and crows;
engrave a stone to your memory:
when I was homeless,
you gave me your trust.
gave me your song and your
genuine living in time.
they gave me all they had to give,
while people passed parsimonious by us
every hour.


engrave a stone, compose a song,
and sing, sing, sing the love
and thanks I bear you all
each moment that I breathe.


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Posted June 26, 2011 by mishibone, braon, braonthree, sehnen in poetry

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