– Javier Etchevarren, translated from the Spanish by Jesse Lee Kercheval
Mama works less
and hugs me more.
She waits for me
at the school doors
with an apple pie
(no matter that I
am 30 plus years old).
My older brother
has not lost his job.
he has quit smoking
in our bedroom.
My middle brother
has stopped breaking
his back for others
and uncorks an expensive wine.
—who has quit drinking—
returns to the house
and asks forgiveness.
We forgive him.
We smile for the picture
while weeping with joy:
all my family reunited
in this poem.
For more information on Javier Etchevarren, please click here.
A big thanks to Alison for curating these beautiful poems.
– Denise Levertov
Tired and hungry, late in the day, impelled
to leave the house and search for what
might lift me back to what I had fallen away from,
I stood by the shore waiting.
I had walked in the silent woods:
the trees withdrew into their secrets.
Dusk was smoothing breadths of silk
over the lake, watery amethyst fading to gray.
Ducks were clustered in sleeping companies
afloat on their element as I was not
on mine. I turned homeward, unsatisfied.
But after a few steps, I paused, impelled again
to linger, to look North before nightfall-the expanse
of calm, of calming water, last wafts
of rose in the few high clouds.
And was rewarded:
the heron, unseen for weeks, came flying
widewinged toward me, settled
just offshore on his post,
took up his vigil.
If you ask
why this cleared a fog from my spirit,
I have no answer.
For more information on Denise Levertov, please click here.
The Word That Is a Prayer
– Ellery Akers
One thing you know when you say it:
all over the earth people are saying it with you:
a child blurting it out as the seizures take her,
a woman reciting it on a cot in a hospital.
What if you take a cab through the Tenderloin:
at a street light, a man in a wool cap,
yarn unraveling across his face, knocks at the window;
he says, Please.
By the time you hear what he’s saying,
the light changes, the cab pulls away,
and you don’t go back, though you know
someone just prayed to you the way you pray.
Please: a word so short
it could get lost in the air
as it floats up to God like the feather it is,
knocking and knocking, and finally
falling back to earth as rain,
as pellets of ice, soaking a black branch,
collecting in drains, leaching into the ground,
and you walk in that weather every day.
For more information on Ellery Akers, please click here.
Thank you to Alison for finding and sharing these gems.