I am writing to tell you
that the apple blossoms have opened
and, for a moment, made clouds
out of the trees. rain has swept
the cherry’s petals
into great muddy drifts
where they will linger, for now,
in a deficit of brooms—or rather
of hands and arms to sweep them.
we are become molluscs, in a way,
curled up soft and moist
within our shells. sound
reverberates a little differently
through homes turned castles;
I press my cheek against the wall
when the twins cry, learn to recognize
their parents’ footsteps.
a world away. connected.
I try to think of us as coral.
the city, that is—a thing
of shell and rebar, concrete,
glass and grass and promises.
even as polyps retreat
against the coming storm,
we breathe and breathe and
breathe. creatures, for once,
made flesh; and in that, unified.
but you have to understand:
I try to think of us as coral
because the alternative
is to wake in the night
as red blood cells, as marrow,
as the dna-test scrapings
off the inside of a crime scene
while the skeleton of Seattle
struggles on without us—because
if there is anything to learn
from the rot and rent of centuries,
it is that even bones can crumble,
fear is a nebulous companion.
I did not invite it in. and yet
we are none of us hermetic, none
immutable under strain. I fear
this is a chrysalis. I fear
what might emerge. I fear
more than anything
that it will not
that the deaths
and the wounded
from our memory
as atrocity so
often does, and
leave us frozen
by a future we
I fear it will
I will not be my fear.
I am writing to tell you that
today, I saw a robin. it clung
to the corner of the sidewalk
and pecked at leaf mulch
caught in the unswept gutter.
worms, I would imagine, had emerged
after the rain, and the bird,
appropriately, would eat its fill.
today, the sky was blue and chill
over the white and pink of flowers,
and the streets, new-washed, stood empty
as at dawn.
in the quarrelling gulls and crow mobs
where our footsteps used to tread,
I must see courage: I must take of this
a caring, a patience, a love
for one another, in this organism city,
that faces the gaping unknown future
& says: together. we will wait, and watch,
and see what comes, and tomorrow, perhaps,
the maple may bud, and perhaps
we will see it