By Jackleen Holton Hookway
This world is just a little place, just the red in the sky, before the sun rises, so let us keep fast hold of hands, that when the birds begin, none of us be missing. –Emily Dickinson
A sapling shakes, and a gust
of new red-crested finches are launched
into a sky already thick with song. Since sun-up,
the ruby-throated hummingbirds
at the neighbor’s feeder have been at it;
the thrum of their wings, their tiny
voices rapt in happy bird-gossip.
Yes, the glaciers are melting, irreversibly now.
And the other day, my friend, walking
in his neighborhood of rainbow flags
and prayer flags, saw three swastikas blackly
shadowing the wall of the community theatre.
But the birds don’t know any of this—or if they do,
they’ve known it all along.
So let us now keep a vigilant eye
on the horizon, always seeking out the red
in the sky, its teacup of sun rising above
the morning fog. Let us look in on our neighbor
from time to time. And let us be kind to each other,
kinder now than we have ever been.
Jackleen Holton Hookway’s poems have appeared in American Literary Review, Bellingham Review, Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, North American Review, Poet Lore, Rattle, Rise Up Review, and are forthcoming in the anthology Not My President (Thoughtcrime Press).
Photo credit: Kate Ter Haar via a Creative Commons license.