A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
for Luis Alberto Urrea
Beside an unnamed stream that rushes across slate
like obsidian’s idea of itself, I count,
in each drenched cleft of broken rock, columbine,
forget-me-nots, shooting stars,
purple, yellow, white and
whale-eyed as imagination running away with sky.
At 10,000 feet I huff upslope
beyond oxygen, carrying in my daypack
the stories of friends, trail food
for loneliness. A camp robber screeches
from fir to Douglas fir. A second month
we have been confined while COVID-19 rips
through lung after lung, a death count
raging higher than we have syllables to speak.
Each day my friend asks us to share
evidence of grace, photo trails of kids laughing,
prayer flags strung with petals,
sequin’s strum along hummingbird wings,
the pulsing conversation of trees.
For grace, we’ve ceased watching
the president and his minions walk the plank of greed.
I click on my friend’s latest shot
of water’s multiple depths at high altitude,
and I leap to hike with him uplifted
with all the beloveds I can no longer see.
Pam Uschuk’s books include Blood Flower (Wings Press 2015). She lives in Tucson, Arizona.