Thread The thread was a rope, stretching to the moon, to my dark daughter on that distant shore. Cats, rents, and jobs, insurance, eyelashes, cars. Was I any closer to helping, for all that? Was I any safer from loneliness, from death? And what if the awful thing did happen? Could I go on living? With that thought, another thread brought a merlin, flying fast up the gorge, landing on the scratched limb of an old bay tree. I watched it, held it. I lit a fire, crackling. Felt it burn every inch of who my daughter was supposed to be until who she was grew clearest blue.
Refuge Not my brother, not my sister but it’s me, oh, Lord, standing in the need of prayer. African-American Spiritual Traveling alone from coast to coast, parched and edgy, I take refuge, recall the living world: buckeye butterfly, pretending big eyes; entangled jellies, pulsing in the sea; bioluminescent creatures, rising from the deep. Thanks for these, a thousand thanks, too, for ticking in my head and gut, affirming your presence when I feel you there. But I’m staring out the window now at mountains pocked with frack sites and giant mines. I see my father streaking fast over the desert, pushing buttons to drop unearthly fire. I don’t like to admit this is where I’m from. Better to remember the disabled boy at Security: when the TSA put him in the X-ray pod, his tight, gangly arms could not form the requisite diamond. As he stood trembling, the woman agent offered smiles and warmth. Good job! When the doors slid open, he burst from his cage, grabbed the officer in an embrace, calling his mother to come join. What else could she do but go? He held these two in the mad arena, all three grinning unadulterated joy as he tried to fist bump his accomplishment. And I, against all odds, felt tears in my eyes. Spirit, that was you. The man behind me in line, I think he knew it, too.
Kathryn Jordan is an author and musician from Berkeley, CA. In the past year, her poems placed or won Honorable Mention in The Kowit, Muriel Craft Bailey, Connecticut Poetry Society, and Patricia Dobler poetry contests. Kathryn’s work appears in The Sun, Comstock Review, and New Ohio Review, among others. For more on her writing, photography and events, or to buy her book, please visit Kathryn’s website.