mother & scribe

in solidarity i am

Surely I did hunt and gather in the forest
my eyes fastened to the ground
watching the path, searching the edges
spotting small bright shiny things
now bottle caps I cannot eat
and still I collect them.
In solidarity with albatross, I hunt and gather
saving a few indigestible things from the sea.

And I know I held the match that burned millions
yes, something of Hitler is in my soul
and I burned too, after he spread tar in my mouth
for telling the truth.
In solidarity with the solitary prisoner, I sit alone
with God in search of understanding for the harms
inflicted by the battered child
harms no man forgives though revenge appeases.

Indeed I believed peace was possible long ago
and I believe peace is possible today
because peace is with the child
cradled in his mother’s arms
for the first time, he is learning to breathe
with each gurgle she assures him
and with every silence she checks to be sure...
he is breathing, they are breathing together
she is his ocean and he is her river.
In solidarity with the mother, the child
and the breath that joins them
I am this careful peace, a slave to their gravity
the singularity at the center of a black hole


'In Solidarity I Am' is one of the few poems I've written both quickly once the first line appeared and without editing much if at all since. I could have started and stopped writing poems with this one. Pretty much sums the story up for me, beginning with one of the first stories that split me open to where I'd like to die, that being one told in TIME magazine, 2000, of an albatross mama unable to feed her babe because she had a toothbrush lodged in her throat. When written 5.10.2014 during a months witness with albatross, I was sitting with photographs captured by Chris Jordan for his Midway project