By Rose Marie Berger (23 September 2017)
A poem on the feast day of St. Adamnan,
ninth abbot of Iona
Today, planted scarpered kale
liberated by Grace. Winter comes
to risen beds. Leafy tough, stolen,
abundant delight! Rogation prayers
go in with roots. Ilhui’s garden blessing
Lingers below purple basil, bible leaf,
Mary’s milkweed (for 3 monarchs,
should they arrive). Ilhuicamina
Long-limbed, beautiful, copal skin,
soles to seal the deal. These child-plantings
uprooted, transported, here.
Now let soil hold you.
Porch perched in alley cliff
anchored nest soon vanishing, future
interrogators’ (if) mystery — urban Anasazi?
Plural porches linked — a tiny rail fence
To neighbor Can they be called such?
A first name. A nod at night.
Huber, though, strong and certain
Built this porch with our thief
Illegal day laborer, son, friend, student
Taking selfies with our plunder
So righteous in our possessives
Ownership and loss, like statelessness
Like failure, like papers’ blundered ink.
God’s eye rises behind tagged dumpsters, murals
While the morning mockingbird eyes us
suspiciously — Still here, illegal Anasazi or settler, perched
In my tree, where it was, where it will be?
Old Adamnan knew “the sacred places,”
sold them south to Roman rule, settler
calendars and customs, women and war. Yet, his Holy Isle
harbored thieves, enemies, salty saints
washed up on rocks–tough, stolen, stateless
It’s you, O mockingbird, I love the most,
always speaking in tongues.