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Eventually

 

with thanks to JT

 

 

Start in the dirt,

said the photographer,

then elevate from there.

And though I was thinking

of poems, and though

he was speaking of images,

I immediately leapt to healing.

 

Just today I heard of a girl

who, on Christmas morning,

learned her stomach ache was cancer.

I called her mother

to console her, though

I was the one near tears.

 

Start in the dirt.

Ammons, my hero, once

looked to the dirt

in search of something

lowly, but all he could find

was magnificence. Within

a stanza, he launched

from ticks to galaxies.

 

Sometimes in the dirt

all I see is dirt.

 

I held back the tears until

after we hung up the phone,

then wept. I wanted to find

some shred of magnificence

in her story, but it is, perhaps,

too soon. No magnificence. I suppose

that’s the invitation to stay in the dirt,

stay there until I know, really know,

there is nothing lowly. Not

the lichen. Not the slug. Not the ant.

Not mutating cells.

 

Hafiz, my hero, once wrote

that everything, everything

is holy. Sometimes I want

to argue with him.

 

Start in the dirt. Yes.

Perhaps I will be here a while.

I have some practicing to do.

It may be some time

before I elevate.

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