by Lenora Rand
We do not know exactly why the universe was created.
We do not know exactly why a whale sings, an antelope snorts, a raccoon trills.
We do not know why the same cardinal will show up morning after morning, brilliant and grounded and true, strutting outside the window, like they invented the color red.
We do not know why people we love get sick and die.
Or why people we don’t know who are kind and generous
and working for a better world get sick and die.
And we don’t know why people who seem for all the world
like the world’s biggest assholes, don’t.
Why so many simple, innocent folks trying to make it through another day have no homes, no food, no health care, who so often end up
left by the side of the road,
end up in cages, end up in graves.
We don’t know why some people do so many bad things to each other.
And to our earth.
We don’t know why we do.
We don’t know why sometimes we feel so lonely.
Why it’s so hard to believe we are adorable and cherishable and inexplicably valuable.
And why it’s so easy to turn away from those who see us as that way.
We don’t know how this world can be
so dangerous and terrifying and heartbreaking
and so heartbreakingly lovely. Both.
At the same time.
We don’t know why sometimes it’s all we can do to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
And why sometimes we’ll just be driving around in the car doing errands or whatever and the sun is shining or it’s not and we like the song on the radio or we don’t
and we just finished a massive fight with our spouse or we didn’t,
but what comes to us is something that tastes like the fresh bread of gratitude
this universe we have been given.
And in some language we can’t speak out loud,
we say thank you.
And you say,
Uh-huh baby, you’re welcome.
© Plural Guild 2020
Purchase a video performance of this poem by Julian DeShazier here.