by Laura Reece Hogan
The time of April ticks onward outside, on the hills, in the chaparral,
under sagebrush, an awakening from the ashes and the barren ache.
The swallows return, an aerial army swooping to reclaim terrain,
the muddy need to nest pulsing in their blood. The rushing, rustling
fight for the safety of the eaves, a time to build: our own daily lot.
A scrub jay works the red roses, mounts his throne among thorns,
hop-foots to beak a beetle prize. Paired woodpeckers parent noisily,
the tiny subjects of their reverberating anxiety tucked, fed, hidden.
The earth exhales scented afternoon breeze, electric sweet and seeded
with urgent life and urge to life throbbing in the wings, a time
to be born, the buds bursting pink, the fresh blades of grass pushing,
pushing up, a time to plant, the children growing, growing strong.
The darkness underneath, the clay knowledge of endings inevitable,
gives over to beginnings, the springing up of greenness and wild
heaven-blue lupine blooms crowning the scorched knoll, lilacs,
lavender, bellflowers, poppies announce a time of fragrant plenty.
This is mercy, this forgetting of the winter, the drought, the fire, and
the hunger; the shuddering deep of the sigh, a time to release, a time
to love, come what may. This is mercy, this forgetting to remember,
the remembering to forget all except now, this present, this presence.
Laura Reece Hogan is the author of Litany of Flights (Paraclete Press, forthcoming November 2020), which won the 2020 Paraclete Poetry Prize, the chapbook O Garden-Dweller (Finishing Line Press, 2017), and the nonfiction spiritual theology book I Live, No Longer I (Wipf & Stock, 2017). A Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, she is one of ten poets featured in the anthology In a Strange Land (Cascade Books, 2019). Her poems have appeared in America, Dappled Things, The Christian Century, First Things, Anglican Theological Review, Cumberland River Review, Whale Road Review, The Cresset, Santa Fe Literary Review, and other publications. She can be found online at www.laurareecehogan.com.