Laura Leigh Morris. Jaws of Life. Morgantown, W.Va.: Vandalia Press,…
When you’re with, say, your own kind,
those toward whom you do not feel
a need to prove yourself, to explain
the context out of which you speak;
being in your own mind’s ease is easier then.
No fiddling to find the right word
to convey belief in sacramental places
like eddies along a creek’s slow course
or underneath a sycamore’s million leaves.
No need to think you need to craft an argument
for studying the stems of sapling oaks,
for following a hawk that holds itself aloft
along what’s left of some horizon line.
Your own kind knows the things you know.
The way a cedar makes the soil acidic
and how a dogwood often grows nearby.
The way a wren builds decoy nests.
And how the men a generation back
would take it on themselves to stop and mend
a fence because they saw it needed done.
You used to think the mind could hold a truth,
but now you see the mind is like a walnut hull
before the vastness of the sky. The mind
is smaller than it thinks itself to be.
Sometimes you let your own heart be a hymn
nobody else can hear beneath your words.
It wanders like its Lord inside the coolness
of the day, and no one needs to know
to know the knowing it has come to know.
Not your kind, at least, who stand around
and nod agreement at the thing you didn’t say
you didn’t need to say because not saying it
is how you—your kind—sometimes let it say itself.