what despair is; then
winter should have meaning for you.
I did not expect to survive,
earth suppressing me. I didn’t expect
to waken again, to feel
in damp earth my body
able to respond again, remembering
after so long how to open again
in the cold light
of earliest spring–
afraid, yes, but among you again
crying yes risk joy
in the raw wind of the new world.
Throughout my life I have looked to other people for knowledge about who I am—but only of the coarser kind, such as a beloved to have said, “I am sorry I hurt you” so before I could begin to know I truly had been hurt or such as a brother to have said, “I am sorry I hardly think of you” at all before I could begin to know I was worthy of living in another’s thoughts or such as a mother to have said, “I am sorry I never loved you” enough before I could begin to know I had not been much loved or such as a father to have said, “I am sorry I left you again” and again before I could begin to know I had been cast off. Then today, while in my car and stopped at a red light, I saw close by a wild patch of feather grass shielding a lone starling in search of a bug and, almost without thinking, thought, “I am that.”