ambulance :: brittany perham

I speak as if my voice is a guidewire
sliding toward my brother’s heart,
opening each vessel’s glossy skin, lighting
the coal stove inside. Warmth might begin
rising upward, his cheeks coloring like twin flowers.
I narrate the roads we drive by memory:
The coastline north of the airport, I say,
the tunnel beneath the harbor, and the city’s summer
market, each storefront closed. If I could see
my mother, where she sits beside the driver,
I’d see how tears can look like sweat—
as though she’s been running
some long distance, her hair the wiry stems
of orchids in my father’s greenhouse.
When I was young, he lifted a caught sparrow
from the soil bed and set it in my hands.
It rolled to its side, clawless, injured
in the falling. Toss it up, my father said,
maybe it will fly. The truth is,
I bring my father to the poem only
suddenly, to amend the law of his absence,
and because my brother’s eyes are closed.

streets :: naomi shihab nye

A man leaves the world
and the streets he lived on
grow a little shorter.

One more window dark
in this city, the figs on his branches
will soften for birds.

If we stand quietly enough evenings
there grows a whole company of us
standing quietly together.
overhead loud grackles are claiming their trees
and the sky which sews and sews, tirelessly sewing,
drops her purple hem.
Each thing in its time, in its place,
it would be nice to think the same about people.

Some people do. They sleep completely,
waking refreshed. Others live in two worlds,
the lost and remembered.
They sleep twice, once for the one who is gone,
once for themselves. They dream thickly,
dream double, they wake from a dream
into another one, they walk the short streets
calling out names, and then they answer.

kindness :: nikita gill

And maybe this is how we learn the value of kindness.

When the whole world is like a small child with a fever,

trying her very best to make herself feel better.

Maybe we find our unity in the near-losing of everything.

Where we have no choice but to depend upon each other.

This is what it takes to realise we are in this together.

A man helps someone he dislikes because they are in danger.

A neighbour delivers groceries to everyone ill on her street.

Old friends forgive each other, stop acting like they are strangers.

Maybe this time, the revolution arrives dressed as kindness.

People helping each other despite their differences.

Understanding truly, that without the aid of others,

we would be all alone in this.

another night at sea level :: meg day

On the third day, I wrote to you
about the sky, its elastic way
of stretching so ocean-wide
that the only way to name it
was to compare it to Montana’s.
Lately, the sky is a ceiling
I wake to: broad & blank
& stubborn, stiff at the edges
like a fever cloth wrung out
& gone cold in the night, damp
with the wicking of latent ache.
But tonight I was walking
home along the coastline
& caught the huge moon
in my throat. There’s a man
somewhere on the planet
who has been to that moon,
who has stepped out of that sky,
& will never sleep the same
because of it. Will always be
sad or feel small, or wonder
how it is a person can be
a person, if being a person
is worrying about things;
whose eyes cannot see
what things are, but only
the slightness of them.
I think of writing to you
in this way—welcoming
the adventure of it—
& of being wrecked
proper, of being ruined.