Between sunrise and bedtime,
everything is believed and therefore
blessed. I come from a bleak land
where the sun never lingers
long enough for us to trust
the open arms of darkness.
Sometimes night comes so fast,
like galloping steeds bearing shadows,
that children forget hunger
and kneel down to pray
around the towering great pine
in the middle of our land where
an old man hums a tune as he
gives his faithful dog a piece of three-day-old
bread. The pigeon comes and snatches it away
from the old man’s palm before the dog
could open its mouth.
The scene repeats itself when fish is absent
from the oceans.
Repeats itself when roses are unreturned
to the gardens.
Repeats itself when the dog remains hungry,
and the pigeon fattens by flour and stolen glory.
And above the circle of our praying children,
the scene repeats itself in the obedient bones
of our fathers, in the yellowing skins of our mothers,
and in the collected debris of our patient existence.
And it won’t stop repeating itself
until the distance is undone
by the lifetime of a poor laboring snail;
until it’s sunrise when everything is believed
and therefore blessed.
The old man, sitting under the great pine
in the middle of our land, never stops