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Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg

It begins with the cicadas, early September
hummingbirds floating on a thin line of wind.

It ends in the next breath. I begin regardless
of the weather or amount of sleep I didn’t catch.

I start in this chair, quiet as the Osage orange, bowing in
toward and away from the ground that is always the refuge:

The buzzing breath of life wanting so much to live
that it topples everything where we take sanctuary.

Come back to the answer we call a horizon. Go out
to the back deck at 1 a.m. when you can’t sleep.

The Milky Way spreads itself in a swath of old light,
old life, still being transmuted to us in multiples of time.

Take refuge in that and in the living room
where your husband and cat sleep on each other.

Be a moth blind to the light who still finds it simply
by letting the warmth draw it up.

Be a storm saving, then flooding the parched ground.
Fill in all the cracks you cross but leave no scar tissue.

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Ph.D., the 2009-13Kansas Poet Laureate is the author of 24 books, including How Time Moves: New & Selected Poems; Miriam’s Well, a novel; Needle in the Bone, a non-fiction book on the Holocaust; The Sky Begins At Your Feet: A Memoir on Cancer, Community, and Coming Home to the Body. Founder of Transformative Language Arts, she leads writing workshops widely, coaches people on writing and right livelihood, and consults on creativity. Her new podcast is Tell Me Your Truest Story. Find out more about her at,, and

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