Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Precarious Balance

The Christmas lights are gone now
My neighborhood suddenly shadowy, menacing
I found excuses not to walk the dog last night.
The morning dawns charcoal-skied, fearsome
Radio droning echoes of despair.

I lie in bed tormented knowing that the news will snap his picture
When the shovels reach six tiny hands buried in mud.
Tormented knowing that pain repeated,
Multiplied, thousand-fold as the world
Digs out countless tiny buried hands.

Were it my hands digging for the inevitable,
I would next dig my grave in the mud alongside.

We are, as usual, late leaving for school when
He calls me over, this ten year old bolt of lightning
Who stills for nothing,
Yet he is hushed door-side, pointing up
Insisting I stop to look.

I must crouch beside him to see it
Silhouetted sculpture-like against the gray matte,
A great blue heron on the slender upper branch of a spruce
Somehow standing steady, composed
Despite the huge disparity between his size and his perch.

A minute later, gone, and we stream forward
Backpacks, lunches, laptops, in hand for the day.

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