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Party Poem

— Ambalila Hemsell

Celebration is a peculiar thing when the darkness
comes swirling in like a cosmic soft serve.

I don’t know what birds will call to my sons
or how they will know an omen from a climate refugee.

Perhaps, in the end, migrations are the only signs
worth reading. I spend every meteor shower wishing

they will see a path unfolding. I take them
to the woods to practice. See here, the faint trail,

lined with fiddleheads.
Fiddleheads, I tell them,
are ancient. They have been here almost forever.

We are throwing parties as if they were
bread crumbs for the way home. As if doom

wasn’t the sure end to our feeble, human story.
I can’t stop loving glitter, no matter what

the science says. My teenage brain remembers
too well the ecstasy-rendered world. I must

keep my joy where I have it. My heart wanders
and returns. It outruns coyotes and owls. It rides

out a thunderstorm in a gulley. It knows
where to come when it is hungry. I feed it

descending arpeggios and your steady,
sailboat faith. After all, we were only animals.

Forgive us, boys, we were caught in our own
machines.


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