There’s that moment between the time you
open your eye wide and the puff of air
makes you flinch or
that second just before your finger is pricked.
There’s that hour in the neighbor’s basement after
the tornado siren that pierced your nap.
There’s that week between
the lab test and the phone call.
There’s that bedside vigil after
her breathing slows and
time stands still.
These kinds of waiting we know.
But not this waiting
stretched out for miles and mountains
because we cannot tell where the horizon shifts
or what lies beyond that blurred line.
Together and apart we tend
our anxious thoughts—
baby birds that must be fed
before they can fly away—
hoping for mercy and maybe
giving mercy too.
A fire consumes the familiar and
for shoots of greening life
raw and tender.
We will love that holy ground with
a fierceness we did not know we had.