Do not make me one of the trees bowing
in soft wind, not the heavy branches at sway
or the murmuring leaves. But let me be a molecule
of water flowing in the veins, the inner blood
pressured through the rings. Nothing so grand
as ocean waves crumbling on a beach, or the river
running down boulders into the sea. But the moment
between salt and saltless, where two waters meet.
Hear me. I am less than a single ray of sun
or the hawk gliding over Gold Hill.
So let me instead ask to become the light
refracted from the hawk’s pebble eye,
or the passing moment before the quiet
rabbit is caught running wild.
And when morning comes, it won’t do to cast me
in the part of Peter, John, or the other men,
not as part of the question, “Do you love?”
or its answer. Not in the command to feed
lambs or sheep, but as one ember sent
from the campfire cooking breakfast,
the breath of burning timber that sears fish,
bakes the bread broken like shells, by the sea.
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The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.