Calling Out the Names
Stripped of leaves, each limb
exposed, maple remembers the whoosh
of branches lush with wind and shade.
Even frozen solid or emptied by drought, river
remembers flood banks, the pulse
Grain in the loaf remembers field.
Scar remembers knife, but also suture
and the hand that bandaged.
Bed recalls absent sleeper
damp breath on the pillow.
Brush, stilled on the dresser, remembers knots
and what followed the untangling.
Honey remembers hive, bee and blossom.
Salmon tastes home
in the scent
of its birth stream.
Sand remembers shell.
Gravel, the granite cliff.
Lung, breath. Throat, song.
And I remember you.
Commissioned for the annual memorial service at Seattle Children’s Hospital.
Published in New England Review, Vol. 40, No. 4.
Formatting altered to negotiate the gap between my layout skills and the available options.