a miracle is due

a miracle is due

fourth grade in utah public school
i’m ten and tired of pioneers already
but i’m listening
because today in history 
we’re studying a miracle:
how crickets once devoured 
our crops, how we plead
until god sent seabirds
who rolled in like clouds
how without them 
we’d have met our end

it was the first pioneering spring
and we thought those tender shoots 
meant survival. we were oblivious  
to what Goshute people knew
how crickets can be caught and dried
ground into flour, made into cakes
instead, we saw a swarm 
and thought ourselves gone

i’d known seagulls 
from the playground 
crying and diving for crusts— 
but after that lesson 
i saw each of them anew
agent of miracle
more agile than angel
at recess i looked up 
as if to cry back
to the flash of wings
we owe you
now i know
we owe you


there was still farmland then
the freeway, merely planned
and yet, in forty years 
i’d become part of a swarm
desiccating the lake
swift, and insatiable 
it’s past time 
to be reciprocal
we owe them 
and we know
we owe a miracle

© Nan Seymour 2021

 

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