The images have been showing themselves
in quick flashes, in dreams: a golden cupola
collecting light above the clock
of the heart keeping time, white
and round-faced and wide-eyed as a hungry child;
or a bend in the road taken
too fast, then skidding
against dulled guard-rails, dirt
ditches, close call; a brush through
a girl’s tangled hair, just washed, her cries
the kind a grieving mother mourns;
and the heron, landing or taking flight
against a sky, a hungering moon, a spring.
These are the pictures you see
like emblems or totems, ghosts or clues
scavenging for faith. This,
the faith that the rounded belly will tell
a sustenance story and the starving child
will become mythic, like the dinosaurs, the Phoenix
rising from this damaged place
of soiled diapers, mountains of plastic
propelling our daughters too soon into puberty,
those big eyes, that radiated moon.
Faith, that if we sing long enough, pause
from our spending sprees, our oil benders,
we’ll see, we will see, we will see
how we came to the knife edge of hope
and didn’t back away.
The images have been showing themselves.
There are signs.
Of spring, of good, of evil –
these can be found without great effort.
But can you hear the willow call?
Can you feel the tilt of this axis
we assume won’t fail?
Last night, I watched my niece dawn
a training bra and panties to dance for us,
her body the perfection grown women seek,
a boy’s straight lines, skin sleek, smooth, soft.
Hips swayed and arms motioned according
to a rhythm that dated me and surprised,
I found myself crying. Crying
at her innocence, barely intact, crying
as the ipod skipped and jumped
over whole sections of the song she knew
the words to by heart,
crying at this girl dancing on the edge
of the inevitable.
Later, she would tell me of carrying Kotex
to school, of her anorexic friend.
I cringed hearing that word pass her lips, this child
who I held within hours of birth.
I cried because she was me and I was her
and time passes, unstoppable.
Today, on the playground, she was a girl again
skipping free and swinging high.
This is the faith that sees the girl
and the world, holds the child
with the full belly and the child with the hollow
eyes, this is the holder of faith who weeps
for the tender spring and dances
for the seasons’ turning. This is she
whose eyes see signs, images, totems and truths.
This is the faith in the siren song
that will lead us all home.
In Memory of Sara London-Hinman, April 17, 1987 – August 3, 2006
Art: “Angel” by Sara London-Hinman