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Small Sorrows

You can start anywhere,

you can start with the hummingbird

that quivers at the feeder, or with a moon

lost in the corner, or the stray dog who creeps

to my window and breathes. But not with

the Lebanese woman on TV who sobs as she

trudges back to her house of rubble.

How can I tell you my small sorrows?

In Slovenia, at the Nazi prison in Begunje,

you can see the last writing of two British

soldiers. On the stone of a shared cell, each

scraped the facts he pared himself down to:

name, address, parents, schools, date of enlistment,

rank, battalion, date and place taken prisoner, and

the date which became the year of death.

I didn’t want to start there.

I don’t want to end there. But no matter where I start,

or end, I will tell you—that if I could

touch you, I would become a hummingbird, a hidden,

shining center. And the dog—she would

press her small, strong back into my hip.

from Walking the Dog’s ShadowFind it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2011
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

Published in Deborah Brown Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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