Morning: Still and Moving
The sky’s dun, the roses needing dead-heading
gone dull tan, the morning air thin, reluctant,
a shy child. There are those who hurry, those
who can’t. The woman who tries but is limping,
bent. There is a season dying, a season being born.
When the breeze picks up, it carries fear not hope.
Only the smallest birds fly, a sabbath silence settles
over the grayed street, one butterfly skitters
and darts through still air. It does not come to
the waiting buddleia, the rich purple offerings
a bee cruises. Dim noise of distant traffic comes
to my senses the way a scent of fire does, smoke
scent of fires a continent away. Still hope is always
apprehension’s underside, what we know and
can’t. Sudden grace: a cardinal lands, on the porch
railing first, then hops to the red car roof, perches
for a moment, flies down the driveway, vanishes
from my sight. Like possibility, sign to pursue, like
the flight of the slow gull, the tread of the fat
man with a tiny dog who’s pacing the sidewalk.
The cardinal and the gull, the dog and the bee: as
always, morning offers what I can and cannot see.
Our beloved dead
now come to us
at daybreak, twilight –
on the cusps of
We thought we had lost
them, their loved tones
but liminal times –
the hours of
summon them from depths
into daylight, their
present, sounding our
theirs and ours,
so giving us back
others we loved,
and old selves.
Sandra Kohler’s third collection of poems, Improbable Music, (Word Press) appeared in May, 2011. Earlier collections are The Country of Women (Calyx, 1995) and The Ceremonies of Longing, (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003). Her poems have appeared in journals, including The New Republic, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Prairie Schooner, and many others over the past 45 years. In 2018, a poem of hers was chosen to be part of Jenny Holzer’s permanent installation at the new Comcast Technology Center in Philadelphia.