january second

yesterday i heard a voice beyond my window calling
“sweetheart! sweetheart! sweetheart!”
with a brightness undiminished by the numbing cold.
i looked out and saw a bluejay hopping from branch to branch in the redbud tree,
singing in the snow as if merely for the pure joy of doing so.

my grandfather feels optimistic about the new year
for reasons he cannot describe except to say “maybe the Lord will come back,”
which would certainly put an end to every uncertainty
and worry i keep unconsciously clenched in my fists.
how vulnerable are open hands.

and yet (for God is in the conjunctions)
i have heard further words of brave new hope,
disparate voices taking up the same song
and saying “better things are still to be.”
could it be, this year? this year?
today the snowmelt is streaming down the gutters
and the redbud lifts its rusty branches
toward a sky of cloudless blue.