Make Room

God said,
make room for me
in your day
that crow swooping low
as you drive to work
the trash heap
beneath the budding trees
falling-down fence
partitioning
wild from civilized
a child’s question
Mama, what does civilization mean?
Make room for me
is what I heard God say
broken glass
on pavement
emergence from caves
of safety and
the genius of survival
Make room
and don’t look too hard
or mistake the moment
when that plump robin
hops to your feet
for anything but my presence
Many poets have died
trying
and the ones who wrote
the truth of a battered
and broken world
saw the beauty, too
and knew the difference
between the act and the word
the jester and the gesture
the seamless unfolding
of one season to another
Make room
Make room
Keep your eyes open
and tell me what you see

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I wrote this poem–this poem wrote itself–yesterday morning, with the timer on my phone set for five minutes. This was all the time I had, between leaving home and trying not to be late for work. And just as I was feeling that squeezed, pressured, rushed feeling, thinking, OK that’s it, I’m at full capacity, I heard those words in my head. Make room. So I pulled over and got out of the car and listened.

I sent it to Mani and a dear poet friend. And almost left it at that. It was only later that I decided to share it on Facebook. The response was so moving and unexpected, and reminded of these words from Nayyirah Waheed’s stunning book, Salt (read it!):

listen to my poems. but do not look for me. look for you.

This is why I pull over. This is why I write. This is why I set a timer and call it practice. This is why I share. This is why I no longer shy away from God.

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