So long at work,/and teetering from one impossible/task to another. I count and recount/an abacus of spilled grain, water flowing/from a sieve: o gather me now in.---From “Orison” by Luisa A. Igloria, Via Negativa, 07-24-11
Sundown was always gleeful for us growing up
around abuela. It was always time to gather
the clucking hens into bamboo nests tied
on low manzanita* trees, low enough for us
to scoop the scrambling little birds beelined
behind squawking mothers into their perch.
The chore done, the handsome lady lilts
our boisterous squadron into a sudden
calm: Anyone for rice cakes after prayers?
The magical word was “cake,” not murmured
promises for a reign of peace as it is in heaven.
On my hammock hour, I replay sundown
tableaus like these radiant remembrances,
(while recollections remain tranquil and clear),
and gather my own noisy bird scoopers, all,
all of them gone now into their own little worlds.
“Anyone for real stories on when I was young?
Some songs sung as I scooped frantic chicken?
Anyone for tea biscuits after sundown prayers?”
O, for those shadowy things to jump up alive
again from these empty walls. O, for those songs
to chime in again to lull me, and gather me in.
---Albert B. Casuga
*Bird berries that look like little red apples when they ripen.