Wrapped inside our veins and pulse it pre-exists
unbound by reason which comes after learned habits
negotiate with survival. It lies dormant
refuses to be examined, refuses to be named until
it collides with an event. We may ask where is this gift
as though the world will expose it.
We may ask what was Ghandi, King or Mandela’s gift?
After centuries of white supremacy they showed us
our barbaric, brutal face, but what can you call the seed
of their insight forged into courage and determination?
What was my mother’s gift? What was my father’s?
Did they return to the earth feeling it was never revealed
I ask my beloved what is his gift. He says, without thinking,
he doesn’t have one. Perhaps that is his gift—to get out of bed,
light the wood stove, make pastry, read novels,
without doubt, resentment or melancholy. What is my gift I ask—
to sit for hours playing with words? Love, he says.
Is that a gift I bring or the earth’s response to the sun?
Both, I feel. A philosopher’s fool, I refuse to dismiss
the feeling I can’t name, the urge I can’t prove—that the gift
I bring is common as mud, and rare as justice
yet drives the heart, like each and every gift
to return the world to its shocking birth.