On Being/Seeing

I went for a wintery walk this weekend. It was the first serious frost in town; cars, berries, puddles were all locked down, encased in white. I listened to an interview with poet Elizabeth Alexander where she spoke of shimmering words, of our need for poetry more in times of struggle and uncertainty; that poetry can help us see one another in new and unexpected ways. This is my response:

On Seeing

the unflinching eye I am
afraid, awed.
Come close, peer into
what depths, dark
or full of color, depths
to rile, fester, balloon
with joy:

the aged hand, bugling
belly, the lingering smile quickly
leaving, at the window
a touch of frost.

The eye of vigilance
of brave quaking
notes in mid-strike
what it wants to forget
what it will not forget.

Each stolen moment—

map tree branches etch
on fog
peas frozen in their traces
her lips dried blood
newborn’s warm

—is a thing that was
but was not the same before
being seen.

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