Autumn 2020 Poetry

i do what i can from where i am

by Michelle Cai

i miss the air tinged with smoke, remnants
of burning prairie. i miss all the trees infested, 
then splintered, cut down. when i return, the street is bare, 
but i am relieved to smell the air sweet 
with thunderstorms. the glowing blue of evening
even the ants that crawl across my skin when i am too still. 

in fear of falling once again into the pull 
of inertia, i took my time, listened closely
soft voices in morning, wind whispering through leaves  
i was grateful when the birds returned. i let pain, slivers
of it, dissolve slowly.

these last few summer nights, i squatted 
bare legged by the window
wishing stupidly for fireworks, a fistfight.
last week i took off my glasses and thought 
this could be any street. now the quiet is an indictment
it was never enough just to mourn

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