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