Hope. hope is that inscrutable thing.
when you are young, you hear about shipdock faith –
the unwavering, firm, fast, dedication to the sky and sea and you believe.
it is the name you call yourself,
before you have realized you have woke up.
half-asleep, dreaming. lavender scent and morning light
outlines the street outside the bedroom
you still must tell yourself you own.
you have chased it. exhaled it.
you know it.
you sleep. wake. curse daytime. praise evening.
you learn that you will never fully know why you believe, but you do.
When your hands are still too
young to write your own name,
they are quite fine enough to
hold ornaments, one-by-one,
a careful carry from the box
to the tree Father cut down himself,
hung it in just the right spot. You were
far too young to taste the spiced
wine but you are certain, even then,
the remains of pulled-back sticky
pulp, sweet like cinnamon, will
always find a place in your home.
When you are too young to spend
early December in your own
home alone, you find a box of two or
three ornaments and drive to the nearest
place where you can cut down a tree
with your own hands, rough and steady now.
You carry it home, clad in lights from
a nearby dumpster. It will be there,
when your family gets back and the
wine is ready, for everyone to drink
and for a single moment, the living
room will be holy, un-ending
IF YOU HAD NOT LEFT US HOME
we are the dawn,
carved out of the
sky that sings to
we are the song that
that is sung across the bridges
over the tennessee river
and beneath the carolina
roadways and in everything.
we are that late morning,
hung in loose curtains that sway in
rose gold light. you, sustained by our
noble bread, clad in animal skin,
made us stay when you fought for
this homeland to be called brave.
if you had not left us home,
you brave creature, you might have heard
the voice of the songbird at dawn, sooner.
the songbirds awake first, preaching long
before men open their eyes to kill.
we are the story
carved into the cabins
you left behind. we are
worn, tired fighters with
long ago, we asked you
to listen to our song. and still,
even now, we ask to listen again.
you sing to the consistency of the blue
sky on a work day, but our
music paints the mountains.