Thread and Refuge

sun cloud sea © Kathryn Jordan

The thread was a rope, 
stretching to the moon,
to my dark daughter
on that distant shore.
Cats, rents, and jobs,
insurance, eyelashes, 
cars. Was I any closer 
to helping, for all that?
Was I any safer from
loneliness, from death?
And what if the awful
thing did happen?
Could I go on living?
With that thought,
another thread brought
a merlin, flying fast
up the gorge, landing
on the scratched limb 
of an old bay tree.
I watched it, held it.
I lit a fire, crackling.
Felt it burn every inch
of who my daughter 
was supposed to be
until who she was
grew clearest blue.

burn © Kathryn Jordan

	Not my brother, not my sister 
	but it’s me, oh, Lord, standing 
	in the need of prayer.  
		African-American Spiritual

Traveling alone from coast to coast, parched
and edgy, I take refuge, recall the living world:

buckeye butterfly, pretending big eyes; entangled
jellies, pulsing in the sea; bioluminescent creatures,

rising from the deep. Thanks for these, a thousand
thanks, too, for ticking in my head and gut, affirming

your presence when I feel you there. But I’m staring
out the window now at mountains pocked with frack

sites and giant mines. I see my father streaking fast
over the desert, pushing buttons to drop unearthly fire.

I don’t like to admit this is where I’m from.
Better to remember the disabled boy at Security:

when the TSA put him in the X-ray pod, his tight,
gangly arms could not form the requisite diamond.

As he stood trembling, the woman agent offered
smiles and warmth. Good job! When the doors 

slid open, he burst from his cage, grabbed the officer
in an embrace, calling his mother to come join.

What else could she do but go? He held these two
in the mad arena, all three grinning unadulterated

joy as he tried to fist bump his accomplishment.
And I, against all odds, felt tears in my eyes.

Spirit, that was you. The man behind me in line,
I think he knew it, too.

Kathryn Jordan

Kathryn Jordan is an author and musician from Berkeley, CA. In the past year, her poems placed or won Honorable Mention in The Kowit, Muriel Craft Bailey, Connecticut Poetry Society, and Patricia Dobler poetry contests. Kathryn’s work appears in The Sun, Comstock Review, and New Ohio Review, among others. For more on her writing, photography and events, or to buy her book, please visit Kathryn’s website.

Award-winning poet Kathryn Jordan loves to hike the trails, listening for birdsong to transcribe to poems. She has great faith in the power and meaning of craft and finds it astonishing that the word poem comes from the Greek poiesis: “to make.”