It hovers in dark corners
before the lights are turned on,
it shakes sleep from its eyes
and drops from mushroom gills,
it explodes in the starry heads
of dandelions turned sages,
it sticks to the wings of green angels
that sail from the tops of maples.
It sprouts in each occluded eye
of the many-eyed potato,
it lives in each earthworm segment
it is the motion that runs
from the eyes to the tail of a dog,
it is the mouth that inflates the lungs
of the child that has just been born.
It is the singular gift
we cannot destroy in ourselves,
the argument that refutes death,
the genius that invents the future,
all we know of God.
It is the serum which makes us swear
not to betray one another;
it is in this poem, trying to speak.
Lisel Mueller is a German-born American poet and winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Reprinted by permission of Louisiana State University Press from Alive Together by Lisel Mueller. Copyright © 1996 by Lisel Mueller.
- Editors’ Note
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What to do with our grief for the world. /
- Wheat and Bread by the Numbers
Common foods, rich with history and biblical meaning. /
- Precious Oil, Mingled with Tears
Hope happens here at this nexus of bitter and sweet. /
- Wonder on the Web
Links to amazing stuff /