First I will speak aloud
I will name every loved one every friend
alive or gone
and every bird or animal or tree I can remember.
Species, indexes, taxonomies,
living and extinct, sectors, metropoles, makers
kangaroo elephant cat finch passenger pigeon crow turkey
pseudotsuga menziesii redwood chestnut orange valley oak
Paris Sacramento Denver San Antonio Ithaca
Nairobi Kandinski, Klee, Hiroshige, O’Keefe,
Saar, Rothko, Sherman
and every act of kindness I have received.
Sunflower bachelor button columbine
anemone clam urchin mussel whale octopus.
I will lie under the fig tree and recite.
I will become enormous
a city, a civilization, a continent,
the forgotten human habitations
I will hold all my distant family
in my arms
I will sing the old songs my mother sang.
Stars will dizzy me with their names.
Every good thing I will tell
until I am speechless
then I will lie still and listen
to the leaves.
Carol Ciavonne’s essays and reviews have appeared in Poetry Flash, Xantippe, and Pleiades. Poems have appeared in Denver Quarterly, Boston Review, Colorado Review, New American Writing and How2, among other journals. Her collection of poetry, Azimuth (2014) is available from Jaded Ibis Press.