call to warning, or a prayer

There are easier ways to say these things, but some things shouldn’t be said easily.
—Octavia Butler, Imago (1989)

SMILE FOR ME….., April 2022, Oakland, CA

The first season’s snow dusted the highest Sierra peaks.
Much later, I heard the falling morning light beg for attention.
In this origin story, and its evolving landscape,
the changing trees become the loudest voices.

I learned early that submission requires indulgence.
They called it grace, which was also a sympathy.
I remember there was laying on of hands.
At the edge of town, someone advertised a rummage sale.

Within this temporary interval of speculation,
fate feels systematic. I carry absence like an autopsy,
an examination as method towards truth.
I know how to hold time as a promise.

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