A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
The moment, fleeting as a nuthatch
that alighted on the flowerbox at breakfast,
the lichen-green hummingbird grazing
the impatiens at noon. I toss them
blueberry pits, bread crumbs. This
moment, before a car bomb is planted
beside a schoolyard in Basra,
a swarm of locusts about to alight
on precious maize in Niger. Nuthatch
and nutcracker engineer whole piñón
forests, one seed cache at a time.
The hummingbird’s tongue is longer
than its head and beak, longer
than it needs to extract the dusky
pollen at the petunia’s throat.
Samsara’s in every in-breath, each
shutter click of attention: first warning
signs of famine, children lining up
for the soldiers’ candy, wolf lichen
in a gash on the ponderosa’s downed limb.
Copyright 2019 Kathleen O’Toole. From This Far by Kathleen O’Toole, published by Paraclete.