Spring . . . air so thick with it,
emergence pungent in fears and lilacs.
Where bullet sings past the ear familiar as the bees
stand the lion with the lamb their angered chant
to dirge heard each day between robin’s tuts.

Wild-eyed girl asks, What blossoming hell is this?

Observe the women, history sewn
into their hems, their strength, in its frailest need,
as mothers lifting sons out their graves
(they can’t be let to die again)
hands to faith breach a shade
grab for processional sunlight.

Walk with me, said like prayer,
empathy walking with antecedent,
(the corporeal long fused to old sorrow)
each holding bold notification—rail against
too lengthy and insidious failure
—a nation wont in its betrayal.

Soft lipped, boy asks, What past-blossom hell seeded this?

How distortedly loud hope need be`
—forced to muster so deep beneath a skin.


Painting, “Links Together,” ca 1996, Elizabeth Catlett. Artnet-