I Know You Think I've Forgotten
without coat without hat
Originally published in The Beauty (Knopf, 2015); all rights reserved. Copyright © by Jane Hirshfield. Used by permission of the author, all rights reserved.
Let them not say: we did not see it.
Let them not say: we did not hear it.
Let them not say: they did not taste it.
We ate, we trembled.
Let them not say: it was not spoken, not written.
we witnessed with voices and hands.
The world asks, as it asks daily:
And what can you make, can you do, to change my deep-broken, fractured?
I count, this first day of another year, what remains.
I have a mountain, a kitchen, two hands.
Can admire with two eyes the mountain,
actual, recalcitrant, shuffling its pebbles, sheltering foxes and beetles.
Words are loyal.
Whatever they name they take the side of.
As the word courage will afterward grip just as well
the frightened girl soldier who stands on one side of barbed wire,
the frightened boy soldier who stands on the other.
Death’s clay, they look at each other with wide-open eyes.