Barbarous World

If you rise in the dark, find vestments
of sorrow slumped on a wooden chair,

pull them on. Then feast
on oranges, bitter herbs and ash.

Choose cleansing silence:
this window, its pieces of sky,

line-dried sheets you will fold
as quietly as light leaves the body.

If in doubt, kiss the hem
of each new day and breathe

as gently as you press a pear to see
if it is ripe, as slowly as you separate

your hand from the back of a sleeping child.
Praise this life, a late-March garden

where new growth stands
on the bones of the old.

(Copper Nickel)