Stone Child
by Loretta Diane Walker

Greed is too busy chewing up humanity
to feel desperation kicking against its broken teeth,
or to see this new day rolling up big wide pants.
It dangles long clear legs over two fraternal maples.
Between the twins, a lone cloud swivels;
the puff of white like smoke from a genie’s bottle.

The sparrows playing hopscotch
on the heavy branches must believe
there is a spirit veiled in the leaves;
their soft see-see-see sound like trilled wishes.
What are they wishing for?

Refuge from political pundits clanging
against television screens?
Their opinions are cymbals crashing division.

Asylum from things too numerous to name
and the words we use to elevate ourselves
above our likeness?
Blood cannot decipher the difference
between race, class, dress size, zip code,
war, language, need, want, waste.
It understands ruin and the smell of spilled lives.

Maybe they want to show Alexandra poetry
rambling across the sky with a knapsack on its back
collecting feathers and stuffing change in its holey pockets.

Or do they want to leap from their perch,
rest on you Stone Child,
born from the womb of hands, heat, clay?
That smirk is burned into your face;
you laugh because we wrap our lives in an abstract
like time.

Would you belittle those sparrows if they clawed
the water leaking in your artificial stream?
Tell them time’s head is shaped like an eagle’s
with wings strong and swift?

Or would you just continue to sit on the grass
ignoring greed while swallowing the sparrows wishes
and listening to them echoing in the hollows of your stone jaws?

Alexandra Petri is a Washington Post columnist.


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