Sarah DeCorla-Souza



This is the way it was before the day
that divided time like Jesus:
I was the axis and the world
the carousel

These are the things we had:
a vast swath of dandelions  
an abundance of sun
the pall of complacence we slept beneath
which settled into the walls
shut out thoughts of the transcendent  

These are the things we kept:
a red and white graduation tassel
dried rose petals in a glass bowl
a chunk of laughter caught
in a cupped hand

These are the things we left behind:
a letter to a television star
a treble clef from our favorite song
the golden hair I wished I had

This is what I remember:
a ripe tomato plucked
from my grandmother's garden

imaginary wars staged in the backyard
weapons of sticks
fortresses of pine needles

the metallic slam of a locker door

running down a dormitory hallway
after I heard the news

a kaleidoscoping tunnel

This is when I came of age:
I can tell you the day, the hour.


This is the way it is now:
a pillar of fire
a crumbled shell of leaf
autumns that smell of jet fuel

the ripping open at birth
the hatching of the chrysalis
the rainbow after the bomb

years that are heavy with tears and smoke
the strong men bent
fetching the broken pulley from the well

becoming Alice
in a slanted Wonderland

a trembling hand on my sleeping child’s back
the rise and fall of her breath.


The angel paused, and creation held its breath.
The stars pulsed like a pounding heart
and the oceans yawned a gasping cave
waiting for the virgin's response.  

In the days and weeks that followed
she ground wheat on the stone and walked
the familiar dusty roads, the words
she had spoken still blooming on her lips—

Let it be done to me according to your word.

And then—

The sighing of the wind for centuries down mountains,
the autumn leaves turning yellow
from relief as the trees relax their boughs,
the long exhale of the ocean currents.

This is why

the seagulls still dip and call above the floodwaters,
why the battlefield grass shimmers, why the tides
still swell and re-swell,
and the wind sighs and re-sighs.

This is what

The wind whispers to the fallen beams
even as the Earth quakes, what
the cardinal calls, blood-red
against the fallen snow.

Sarah DeCorla-Souza's poetry has appeared in JMWW, Conte, Visions International, Dappled Things, and Angel Face.  She lives in Alexandria, Virginia with her husband and daughter.



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