Monthly Archives: February 2015

A poem for my brothers and sisters

Last night I dreamed I stood

at the edge of the parade route,

my friend Claire at my side,

a shade over our heads,

a ridge of red sandstone mountains against the far horizon.

 

Then they came in the noonday sun

Our people, so fierce, so tender, so terrible

The men carrying books translated out of air, out of hats, out of hunger,

Eyes straight ahead, unafraid of looking foolish to the world

if it meant they could beat down death.

 

The women too

Pioneer skirts across the backs of horses

Long guns at their sides

Priestesses they were

Tall, soft spoken, square shouldered

Priestesses of a kind this world has never seen

 

I tried to tell Claire how proud I was to see them

From the time I was a kid

The way my heart would throw itself against my bones saying

True, true, true

Or was it feeling, feeling, feeling?

 

I watched it all pass in front of me, trying to find the words,

and just before I woke the words came:

It is worthy of being loved;

It is worthy of being grieved.

 

The only reason I write is because the words come

The only reason they come is for you

The words came in my dream last night to tell you

 

That all that we have given to it:

Our dead relatives and our living;

Our black mornings bent over scriptures

mapping a world that never existed;

The homely white clothing we stepped into

to make promises, with words, with hands, with bodies;

How hard we worked to keep them;

How we punished ourselves when we could not.

The hours, the hours, the hours—

How do you begin to count them?

 

All of it, the grandeur and the failure,

Yours and mine, and that of our people:

It is worthy of being loved

It is worthy of being grieved

You are worthy of being loved

You are worthy of being grieved

You are worthy.

 

February 7, 2015

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