Out here, we read everything as a sign.
The coyote in its scruffed coat,
bending to eat a broken persimmon on the ground.
The mess of crows that fills the apple tree,
makes a racket, lifts off.
In between, quiet.
The winter fog is a blank.
I wish I could make sense
of the child’s empty bed,
the bullet hole through my brother’s heart.
The mailman drops a package
on the front stoop and the neighbor’s dog
won’t stop barking. I tread
down the stairs, lightly.
Because we can’t know
what comes next, we say,
The plum tree is blooming early.
There are buck antlers lying in the grass.
A mountain lion left its footprints by the bridge.
Copyright © 2014 Danusha Laméris. “Omens” originally appeared in New Letters. Used with permission of the author.
My heart a garden is, a garden walled; And in the wide white spaces near the gates Grow tall and showy flowers, sun-loving flowers, Where they are seen of every passer-by; Who straightway faring on doth bear the tale How bright my garden is and filled with sun. But there are shaded walks far from the gates, So far the passer-by can never see, Where violets grow for thoughts of those afar, And rue for memories of vanished days, And sweet forget-me-nots to bid me think With tenderness,—lest I grow utter cold And hard as women grow who never weep. And when come times I fear that Love is dead And Sorrow rules as King the world's white ways, I go with friends I love among these beds. Where friend and flower do speak alike to me, Sometimes with silences, sometimes with words. 'Tis then I thank my God for those high walls That shut the friends within, the world without, That passers-by may only see the sun. That friends I love may share the quiet shade.
This poem is in the public domain.