Spark of the Sky Stag’s Great Heart

strung from a thought arrived through the keyhole grasping
the hand of another

I will begin with my mouth

then live with antlers remembering the light inside, always to breathe this unforgetting

and his body shaped like a crabapple tree

or a mother raised by a wolf looking back at the mirror

and trying not to break anvils on the bottles of blame

in another life: smell of moss, stream water, depressions of dark orange rocks which trap tiny fish

the consequence of silence: a field beneath opening clouds

on that morning I woke to the sound of the blue jay and used a small silver key

some day we will all be gone from this place

now that the live oak has thrown down all its caramel-colored leaves, thought lives in the ear-shaped idea of this only


Copyright © 2015 by Sarah Messer. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 29, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“I wrote this poem in the middle of packing to leave a place I had lived in for fourteen years. So the poem is about coming and going, and also about the arrival of a thought or a memory. It is an attempt to remember that one day we will all be dead and gone. If I can remember, I find that I act with more kindness, love, and right action—so the poem is also a spell or a prayer to never forget this.”
Sarah Messer