A man leaves the world and the streets he lived on grow a little shorter. One more window dark in this city, the figs on his branches will soften for birds. If we stand quietly enough evenings there grows a whole company of us standing quietly together. overhead loud grackles are claiming their trees and the sky which sews and sews, tirelessly sewing, drops her purple hem. Each thing in its time, in its place, it would be nice to think the same about people. Some people do. They sleep completely, waking refreshed. Others live in two worlds, the lost and remembered. They sleep twice, once for the one who is gone, once for themselves. They dream thickly, dream double, they wake from a dream into another one, they walk the short streets calling out names, and then they answer.
Naomi Shihab Nye - 1952-
Negotiations with a Volcano
We will call you "Agua" like the rivers and cool jugs. We will persuade the clouds to nestle around your neck so you may sleep late. We would be happy if you slept forever. We will tend the slopes we plant, singing the songs our grandfathers taught us before we inherited their fear. We will try not to argue among ourselves. When the widow demands extra flour, we will provide it, remembering the smell of incense on the day of our Lord. Please think of us as we are, tiny, with skins that burn easily. Please notice how we have watered the shrubs around our houses and transplanted the peppers into neat tin cans. Forgive any anger we feel toward the earth, when the rains do not come, or they come too much, and swallow our corn. It is not easy to be this small and live in your shadow. Often while we are eating our evening meal you cross our rooms like a thief, touching first the radio and then the loom. Later our dreams begin catching fire around the edges, they burn like paper, we wake with our hands full of ash. How can we live like this? We need to wake and find our shelves intact, our children slumbering in their quilts. We need dreams the shape of lakes, with mornings in them thick as fish. Shade us while we cast and hook— but nothing else, nothing else.