Brief little life

“This is the world I want to live in. The shared world.” ~ Naomi Shihab Nye

Today, even just for a while, I would like
to stop making a catalog of ruin, making

lists of all the places we may never visit
now that the world feels newly unsafe.

An unmarked red van has just pulled up
across the street, and three men

step out, carrying a long,
rolled-up cylinder of carpet.

My neighbor comes out to greet them,
leads them up her walk, opens

her screen door wide. On either side
of my front stoop, the miniature

Japanese maples offer a more
variegated shade of rust and orange

than the cones security officers
are beginning to set at strategic portions

at the top of the road, because the First Lady
will be speaking at the convocation center at 3.

She’s here to talk about fruits and vegetables,
eating healthy, eating local; planting seeds

in community gardens, going back to basics—
Knowing where our tomatoes come from, plucking

the beans off the vine; hearing the bounce of new-
shelled peas in a bowl, not being afraid to thrust

the hands we are so careful about touching
or not touching others, back in the earth.

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