Trust words as all else,
the scripture of small branches
on the winter sky,

your long hair tickling
my nose as I breathe you in,
fragrant and waking,

the mourning dove’s call,
when still, the recalling of
the mourning dove’s call,

the tickle of fine
root hairs tasting soil under
the leaves tasting light,

mother’s voice tickling
the morning awake, after,
at night, mother’s voice

enfolding shards of
terror in velvet darkness
holding memories

of shattering light,
abandoned childrens’ wide eyes,
homeless vets sleeping

on icy sidewalks,
abandoned elders penned up
and dying alone,

the unheard clear-cut
forests’ screams echoing through
eons, the clear-cut

Rohingya’s, clear-cut
Syrians’, clear-cut natives’,
clear-cut poor’s silent

screams, oceans dying
under plastic deluges,
under the hot air.

After a long day
of crushing work, we’re bone-tired,
we come home to rest,

but our heads are full
of crushing thoughts, our bodies
are the earth quaking

from the crushing job
we’re doing on it, blowing
the tops off mountains,

pumping liquid down
into the ground to pump gas
out, the rocks slip up,

houses fall down, we drown
in poisoned water, we throw up
the waste we threw out.

Finally, we sleep,
but to sleep’s to dream we are
shards of light tearing

it all and ourselves
to pieces. We wake with all
who hold and make us

up—children, elders,
Rohingyas and Syrians,
natives, homeless vets,

the earth that gives birth
to forests, prairies, cities,
our mothers, and us.

In velvet night, we
and all enfold each other
in sorrow and love.

In the morning, light
touches us, we wake trembling,
mourning doves call out,

small branches write on
the sky, the words that bear us
out of senselessness,

fingering the soil
for water, reaching up for
air and sun, to speak

with each other and
all else, in our cruelty,
terror, and anguish,

the words that bear all
and enfold all, the words we
trust, and trusting, are.

Roy Herndon Smith