by B. Lynne Zika

The crowded church cranks its hum 
to a shriek, then a roar, 
each noise skimming taut strings of muscle, 
the body violin. 
Eyes closed, I think soundless.   

Go into a field; 
lie with your heart on the earth 
and give to every grieving child 
the exact thing it needs.  

Pick up your shield and stand ready, 
strong enough to watch each day break 
into a thousand perfect shards. 
Sweep sable hair along the width of your lover’s bed, 
with photos of saints and gurus 
smiling from the walls. 
When neither yes nor no is true, 
there is always silence.   

When you are a stranger, 
do you think you will walk into a room 
and someone will rise from the couch 
and cry, “Oh, it’s you!”? 
We are all waiting to be known, 
cawing from treetops, 
chirruping through the dusk.   

Go into a field. 
Lay your heart against the ground. 
Climb inside the world 
and see through its eyes, 
a wolf among thieves. 

B. Lynne Zika’s poetry has appeared in numerous literary publications: Poetry East, Exquisite Corpse, The Anthology of American Poets, etc.  She has written for newspaper and radio and for trade and consumer magazines. In addition to editing poetry and nonfiction, she worked as a closed-captioning editor for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. She received a Pacificus Foundation Literary Award in short fiction, and her photography has received the Celebrity Award and the 2020 Choice Award from Viewbug. The photograph that accompanies the poem is her own.

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