Love in a Changing Climate

Love in a Changing Climate

Touching your absent hand, I am like the saint
who wanders with the first yellow leaf,
the ease of what might be mistaken
for our familiar love. It’s never easy
to sustain in the eyes what changes inside,
to feel the fear, the abandonment, and shame.
Listen… the wind is scattering our names. We are
the question the stone and the river ask.

Had I been with you when you died, I’d know
him who knows how to shepherd the dying home.
Illiterate birds ravel our lives with twelve strings
and we find love that takes the leap with us,
stays to clean up the birth of the cosmos,
the benevolent trees that burn like us.

William O’Daly

Excerpted from The New Gods Beltway Editions, 2022