Anne Myles

On Being Asked to Write a Hallelujah in a Darkening Time

I said but how can I
when we live on the hinge between terror and denial

When they say take comfort in your loved ones, I say
well show them to me then

I said what right have we to praise
even the broken
, immured in our shining
transparent walls that seem to hold for one more day

I said words are impossible

Only the silence then
Only the gaps
Let these be the places of praise:

the wink in the missing eye of the cat
who clings against me as I try to sit

the space between my resting hands and softening belly

the shift in new leaves on the flooded geranium
from unfurling to unfurled
put forth as the mind puts forth its thinking

the stillness at the bottom of every breath, where it is only now

the awakening ache of what refuses to be filled
by any false refuge

the beat between two caws of the crow
as he carves an arc under the sun
as he has done, as he will do
again over whatever waste

the blur when waking tumbles into sleep
and breathing deepens in the chest of a caged child

Anne Myles is originally from New York and has a PhD in English from the University of Chicago. She is an associate professor of English at the University of Northern Iowa. She has published numerous articles and chapters in the areas of early American literature. Trained in poetry early on, in midlife she is returning to recover her creative voice, which she somehow let go of.