Alyssa Jewell

ON STAYING AWHILE

Here on earth,
we are slamming

into sidewalks, knees bloodied
and palms bent over backwards.
We do not mention this violence again.

We are left to sing.
Hollow bones quaver and whistle--

marimba spines played
to that Barroso tune--
                        Brazil
                                    Brazil
                      
                           Brazil

so that we can only turn in place
like a carnival.

We are slicing the aloe plant down
to its spikey heart to ease

radiation burns
            house fire burns
                        burns from the sunshine and the ashes.

We hold our lungs underwater
until our breaths purple and ache.

We ask if our lips are turning blue.

We offer the goldfinch safflower seed
and every good thing
if we are willing and able,

even a little heat wave
from our own radiators
that chug and clank over whorls
on dead tree floors--

our loose doors
flood steam into January's wide,                                 
bare world.

See the bird there on the highest branch,
washing itself in sunlight.



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