We have forgotten the words. Morning calls
to us but our ears have become stone.
There are syllables in dawn light spoken
in a foreign tongue. The trees turn their leaves
to hear the song. Simple starlings answer
with enchantment. Behind clear sky
hangs an ivy-shrouded mirror
reflecting everything we refuse to see.
It is not like this. Mt. Rainier still wears
robes of snow. Deep lungs of sage
exhale an elemental breath. Within
the hollow of this moment lies a meadow
where black-tail deer graze on grass,
where an exposed rock is an altar
covered in lichens. We have forgotten
how to kneel. Our faces have grown mute.
Beside the river, sensuous vowels rise
in our throats. We swallow, but the language
is in our blood. Wild roses, cut off
at the roots, over and over, will always
grow back. This is the promise. That
even when we are planted beneath stone
we will grow again, relearn the song,
open our mouths, feel our roots in fertile soil.