The breath entering the trumpet
is not the same as the breath
that leaves the trumpet.
The brass body of a trumpet
has the physiology of grief.
Both are an instrument,
Enduring the fractured sickness of breathlessness
until this miraculous sound leaps out, the falling sky
dismembered no more and finally, something broken goes unforgotten.
A black man beneath the green screen paneled gazebo
fills Root Memorial Square Park
with his own-echoed-lung composition.
His breath swam into the trumpet the same way
sadness always enters unexplained, and always, upon exit,
glides through the swamp of ache, finding a way to
Avoid the eulogy of what’s always at stake,
but this week alone, too many of us are losing,
this week together, too many of us have a history of loss.
I speak to a man from Nepal
who gathers with his Nepalese community
to remember too many who have been lost.
He tries to explain the catastrophe
Asks if I know what happened
I want to comfort him with something
More than sympathy, assure him I’ve listened
to NPR, have read the reports but what does
this failed attempt at understanding have to do
With knowledge, with his knowing desecration
of his most beloved, the homeland his heart
occupies outside its own quaking body
The earth dismembered in its
fractured sickness, the toll
of the dead rise but the bodies that remain
Are still trying to sleep
Are not yet done weeping
Are lighting candles for the shadowless.
Here I am, caught in a nation’s weeping
The Spirit of the Hero wants to fill my fingers
but if etymology has taught me anything, it’s this:
All around, flowers, plants, the scene
smiles in green, attests to
the effectiveness of spiting death.
If you listen to the colors of spring speak, they’ll tell you:
Through the history of evolution,
Photosynthesis is the earth asking for forgiveness.