Call and Response

A short worry list— That snow 
might not fall this winter, 

or the next, and the next after that. 
Might never again remind us of things 

like spiderwebs and ivory lace. 
That rivers boil without cease. 

That the fig tree and the persimmon 
might be so overcome, they'll forget 

how to sew anything again 
except patched brown garments

thinner than cheap fashion
made by women with vacant eyes

in sweatshops. That pine forests 
become only the verb in their names. 

But imagine, insist the ghosts 
of lost or departed things—  

Picture the form of someone who goes 
to bed with you, spreads your hair 

like a beautiful fan on the pillow  
or brings you dreams of cool melons 

arranged on a blue plate. From which
window could you find again a pearled 

flicker of wings at dawn, above water? 
Imagine the press of a soft wax seal 

on your lids, embossed with tiny vines 
and fleurs-des-lis; the anticipated 

delight of lifting the flap 
of an envelope perhaps enclosing 

a love letter. Which is to say— 
when they speak of things 

like hope, they mean something 
opens, or opens again.   

 



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