Christian’s Animal

Christian’s Animal

Every little thing wants to be loved.
— Sue Monk Kidd

When you stare at me, do you see
yourself, eyes of porphyry?
Perhaps I could be your animal spirit
and roam the playa and the stars? Built
to last, ready to move on,
I climb the misty pinnacles of Guangxi.
Older than my age among the araucaria
of the lower Andes, I am patient
as ten thousand years waiting to see the canyons
of Coconino County, where surely
my memory will grow deeper.

I will be river or mountain, a galaxy
that moves according to gravity, to necessity,
to natural numbers and scent. Most days
I do my chores. But now I want to go
outside and wave to the seven dancing
children moving across the night.

I pray that one day they will return
and be what we no longer take
for granted.
A mourning dove enters a mineshaft
and I join hands with the lost, afraid of becoming
what I am not.
I kiss the darkness that knows I am not ready.
The more I love, the stronger I become.

William O’Daly

Excerpted from The New Gods Beltway Editions, 2022