In the Waiting Room

Considering the anniversary of women’s suffrage in the United States at this moment I was reminded to return to Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s “I Am Waiting,” which returned me to the hope that inspired this response, this love note to America, for an occasion somewhere between Last Rites and Baptism.

Sparrow by RLGNGNZ on Flickr under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No-Derivs 2.0 License

SPARROWS WAITING
We were sorting the Grapes of Wrath, 
waiting for the shift to be done. 
Our unrest was everywhere: 
flags and chanting; paint and the piercing 
of swords into the flesh at the sides of sworn enemies. 
When was our Last Supper, and when would it return?
Wonder, we looked for you everywhere, waiting for our numbers
to be called.

The whales waited elsewhere, 
bleeding oceans back into their ears;
do they hear each other through the current of it? 
We wanted to know 
what they’d been saying all along 
after hellos and we wanted to lie down again 
––the lovers, the weepers, the dreamers, 
across the Great Divide, our bodies bridges 
for the feet that could not believe 
unless they stepped across us, 
unless they put their hands in the wounds 
of their feet in our backs, back to the Lost Continent 
they’d been trained to disbelieve     America, 
we were waiting for your music for so long 
that when you hobbled back to the Dark Tower
your intimations of immortality bleeding out 
from stray bullet wounds, your torch arm falling 
slack, we couldn’t help ourselves     America, 
we circled you, we circled ourselves         no one 
was looking, but     we were there; we stood up, 
our single bodies     no longer the bridge 
it was our hands     Now        we held 
them         the shape of us unfastened 
from the overpass     ––still, we held,    some 
of us        even though         the gaps 
of our         form were         widening
our collective         path        an open mouth. 
Eye, be on your     sparrow now.      Watch us 
as we stand before ourselves

waiting

here.

Author: Stacey C. Johnson

I am here to wonder out loud. The point is not to get a clear answer, a complete picture, but to remember how incomplete the picture is, to embrace the process once again, of discovery, of questions, to notice the stirrings of wonder. To leave crumbs behind, for the next traveler.

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