I think once again about your brother and sister-in-law, god-awful uncertainty as they await the news. I almost hear their parental oath, or nearly so since the legal process started with his birth, this infant boy they're hoping to adopt who's been exposed to heroin and meth. How much so they don't know yet, but expect the tox screens will soon appear, announcing extent and consequence.
Till then their prayers are ample, open to inscrutable will, yet not remotely serene. The couple's caught up in their frequency. Naturally they're solicitous to gain everyone's lifted pleading, fruitful and keen. So when asked if I will pray, I sense it's the least, potently least, I can do as they do their best outside the NICU. So blessings upon your family, both immediate and extended. (I mean
your family, but then again the prayers too, lifted by air across hope's mezzanine.)
I like the way that shrubs and flowers lean against my classroom windows as if wanting to enroll. What would the azalea say when asked about the Forest of Arden? And would the red, red rose respond to my mistress' eyes as something, after all, like the sun? What's not to like in these my vernal, budding pupils— so firmly rooted in this soil, so curiously intertwined? My vegetable love should grow with each new bell of earnest fragrance, fair and passing fair, each one. As Eve once more eats of that fruit, I hear their universal groan.
To be open to receive the spirit. Easily said: just writing down these words. But it may not come as we would have it in some Byzantine icon of the Christ, Buddha rotund in my neighbor's yard, a thousand Muslim men salaamed in prayer. It may have to appear in ugliness. Today out of a sky black, cold and hard as onyx I still had the vision come. It was the bird we all call tomorrow. You know the one: you saw it as a child. It came to you the first dawn you saw light and found the word for it: the huge not-you. You stood up in your crib. It spoke to you.
Put the words close enough. Closer than that, even closer
so that one breath will make the other turn and the other turn and say
and the wind break this leaf from its stem, not the other
and make a cup for the dew in the shade where the sun won't dry it
where the bird stops to drink as your son waits, pointing "birdie, birdie" and
you snap the picture, the one where his smile is like the first time anyone ever smiled
and its place in the frame on your desk makes you wonder why you don't write poems about this.
Study war no more
Mar 18, 2011
Michael Izbicki grew up in a nondenominational church in California. A National Merit Scholarship finalist, he chose to go to the U.S. Naval Academy out of a sense of duty to his country during a time of war. At the naval academy he began to doubt whether the career to which he had committed himself could be squared with the tenets of just war doctrine. He got in trouble when he responded no to this exam question: "If giv