If you ever lose heart and the earth seems as distant as stars fading into the noise of your busy mind, know this. That a tiny island exists in the blue hands of the ocean. That a tree grows upright into the salted clouds. That two eagles love each other enough to spend their lives greeting the morning sun together. That two eaglets stand in their nest, gazing at the heavens. Looking down to the forever ground. They eat and sleep and flap their wings. And one day in July, one by one, they will jump into the air. They will know the difference between existing and what is beyond. They will hold onto nothing. The hurricane will come, courage catching their pinions on fire, as they mount the wind, climbing ladders into realms of the invisible.

--T.L. Stokes

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Nailed to the Raven

I am nailed to the raven
and thus live a life hell-bent
on revival. The poem always comes
to me like fire, like a mustang
rearing up, clawing at my mute face,
and always, always is the fire raging.
I am a wild fire traipsing across the hills.
My mother, in her dead sense, claps her
hand-bones, jumps up after me in the form
of a bird, sweeps the air
with unbelievable arms, ironed
to perfection, weaved, embroidered,
slapped together. I leap back
from the apparition joyful, exhausted,
as the poem lies on the floor,
crying like a violin baby.
I pick it up,
washing it slightly,
place it in the sun
on the sill like a new butterfly,
damp tangle,
moving with brilliance,
allowing her wrinkles
to flood my eyes,
to widen.

Just then, the raven
flies from my chest.

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