This morning I wrote a poem. It’s working title is “Morning Prayer”…
Each morning she steps outside
Fills her eyes with sun rise
Clouds shape and color-shift grey to pink
Low-lying like fog, high flying like cirrus,
A pale crescent moon in the western sky
the green green green of trees
She inhales fresh oxygen the ocean,
redwoods, and the mother tree two yards over give every day
On days there are fires, she sniffs for it,
feels the tiny burn in her nostrils, from up north, down south, across the ocean
Remembers Santa Rosa, Paradise, Ojai, Australia
Is the Australia fire even over, no longer in the news as it is?
“Help” she sings
Begging nature’s realm
Like the crows beg their morning alms.
She begs, her prayers carried on the wind by crows
What must the crows think?
Soon they’ll bring her bits of breakfast
Thank you so much she’ll say,
though food hunger was not her issue
She appreciates someone is trying to decipher and help.
Her human world is busy squawking about corona virus and
after all, more than 20 million died of the Spanish flu in 1918
It could happen again
She wonders what it felt like in Europe in 1933 when Hitler first came to power
When in 1933 the first “detention center” Dachau was established for “undesirables”.
She wonders what were the increments of the concentration of state power
its incitements to the “othering” of those not Aryan, not Hitlerian
that finally led to Kristallnacht in 1938? to extermination centers in 1939?
There were 68 “concentration”, “detention”, “labor”, “transit” camps.
She said — I’ll name a few.
A few, she said, just a few.
She wonders what it felt like in America in the winter of 1861?
Before the Civil War broke out that spring?
She’s trying to figure out.
Did people know it was coming?
Did they breathe the fresh air?
Notice the behavior of crows?
The Civil War came, like the Spanish flu, only less lethal in the moment.
Only 620,000 died. Only. Not the 20 (or fifty) million killed by a virus.
But more would die in a war that wouldn’t.
The way Confederate flags still fly.
The way 100 years of Jim Crow and lynching became a way of life.
A daily un-reported war.
The way slave labor continues in countless prisons across America today.
The way nothing — no evidence — can get a Black man to death row
The way everything — endless evidence can exonerate a sociopathic Aryan billionaire
And everyone knows. Everyone. Knows.
She worries, as she writes, that words
that true words
that women’s words
that crows’ words
that trees’ words
that poets’ words
No longer have currency except what patriarchal power deems so.
In this 1933 time, this 1861 time. In 2020 time.
Can anyone’s words make a difference in such a reality?
Her questions out-number any inkling of an answer.
Still, she is willing to listen.
And so each morning she steps out on her back porch.
Among trees and crows, she listens.
She remembers to breathe
And stubbornly, she picks up her pen.
Crow, she writes. Tree. Air.