& After the Power Came Back 

for the students  

     The great dead circled the serrated
  hills; they tried to remind you
       to breathe. An old rat crawled
under fire-forgotten rocks; it was called
          & pulled to a movable nothing 
     far from the human need to
        heed & heal.  Maybe you can’t
find it now, but the season
     hauls the wind inside & because 
     you’re a student, you can put     
some questions in your phone, especially
   when you feel you shouldn’t cry…

 Stipple the worry, the grief-torn, those 
    patterns of should & won’t  ::;   new
 minutes set in past danger—  spikelet 
or callus on the roadside;  you
      stop in awe & are home. 
Your human burden varies; the once  
boundless freedom you sought even in 
      private still pulses on your skin...
     The little thistles between the human  
& non-human animals, the linked auras 
in trees & a colorful radiance
   of bodies are hunched to begin—

Copyright © Brenda Hillman. This poem originally appeared in Clade Song. Used with permission of the author.