Skip to toolbar

Origin Story by Leah Naomi Green

“What is dying is the willingness to be in denial.”
            —angel Kyodo williams

The heron flew away  
and I wanted to tell someone    

how long it stayed,   
how close I got,  

how much I missed it 
even as it stood 

to watch me,  
large-eyed animal 

that I am, terrible  
at believing what I can’t see.

You see fire in the home 
where we live: the world 

in cardiac arrest. 
A heart attack

is not the onset I want to say 
to someone, it’s the flare.

It illuminates what’s already here
the forests 

illuminated, the earth 
lit as an origin story.

Here you are,  
I say instead,  

aloud, surprised 
at how close  

I’ve been holding you 
in the dark. 

Flame yields  
no new landscape. 

It bares the contours  
like a map

so we can see 
where we’ve been all along,  

can see one another  
as we walk, and say, 

for once, nothing  
at the fire’s steady flight,  

like a heron  
lifting in loud beats, 

our silent mouths open    
as if to give it a tunnel.

Happy Sunday.

And now for a lovely concert of acoustic music.

Bert Jansch, John Renbourn & Jacqui McShee – Waltham High School, MA, 11 April 1993