In Solidarity I Am*
Surely I did hunt and gather in the forest
my eyes fastened to the ground
watching the path, searching the edges
spotting small bright shiny things
now bottle caps I cannot eat
I collect them.
In solidarity with albatross, I hunt and gather
saving a few indigestible things from the sea.
And I think I must have been free, as in wild,
Because I have let go of everything and everyone
for the freedom to choose what I serve and how.
In solidarity with wolf, I run steady
toward a son, called Home.
And I know I held the match that burned millions. Yes, something of Hitler is in my soul
and I burned too, after he spread tar in my mouth
for telling the truth.
In solidarity with the solitary prisoner,
I sit alone with God
in search of understanding
for the harms inflicted by the battered child
harms no man forgives though revenge appeases.
Indeed, I believed peace was possible long ago
and I believe peace is possible today
because peace is with the child
cradled in his mother’s arms
for the first time, he is learning to breathe
with each gurgle she assures him
and with every silence she checks to be sure...
he is breathing, they are breathing together
she is his ocean and he is her river.
In solidarity with the mother, the child
and the breath that joins them
I am this careful peace, a slave to their gravity
the singularity at the center of a black hole
note: Written April 2014 as a transition poem between a month's witness with wolf and albatross, 'In Solidarity I Am' is one of few among my poems that's been completed in a flash once the first line appeared and without editing since.
The isolated resilient child is one who has learned to ignore ignorance. Darkness is hardest to resist when locked in a dark room. Yet going totally dark proves the light.
'In Solidarity I Am' begins with reflection on one of the first stories that split me wide open. This, of an albatross mama unable to feed her babe because she had a toothbrush lodged in her throat (TIME magazine / 2000). 'In Solidarity I Am' was offered in an Extinction Witness post along with a message on feeling this pain and facing ourselves and one of Chris Jordan's Albatross photographs.
*Today begins posting poems written as part of the 2014 - 2015 monthly revolving witness at Extinction Witness while I'm editing a six-year collection. New daily poems resume once the collection goes to the publisher.
'In Solidarity I Am' was specifically chosen for this day with the rawness of Nikolas Cruz' self-destruction in a mass shooting February 14, 2018.