Holding Action

Letters, be the memory of this moment,
Ruth’s 3-legged Golden Lab
sniffing for news beneath the hedge,
grass glittering with rain,
the bird feeder mangled by our car.
Years from now I want to remember
how we walked the splendid earth
and saw it. When children read this
and smile at its old fashioned vision,
then words, stubborn little boxcars
lugging meaning across the rickety
wood bridge to the future, hold,
hold. Couple against time, bear
the red geranium, the slender birch—
you, sentences–glitter against
the massive dark of nothing. Tell
of feet that buffed this doorsill
till it gleams, of cartwheeling
children. Remember the Rosetta
stone, the hum of Xerox machines,
remember monks copying, how
a prisoner in solitary picked up
a pebble to scribble stories
on the wall. Letters, I tell you,
even if your paper yellows in the attic,
even if it’s torn and thrown into the sea,
each of you separate from your brothers,
swim through the ocean, row across
the sky, walk through the wasteland,
find a reader. Stay together. Hold.

– Jeanne Murray Walker

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