Risa Denenberg

Before world

Birds don’t sing. Jazz doesn’t sing. And then
birds teach hominids to jazz.

Before trees, goats don’t climb trees and trees don’t bare
leaves. And then, trees teach birds to nest.

Before seas, men don’t build boats. Life swims before
it flies. And then, birds teach frogs to hop.

Before fences, coyotes don’t kill chickens. And then
earth is partitioned and frogs teach girls to skip rope.

And when I unearth your face like sun-scorched earth,
the sun hides her face. And then faith restores the sun.

Before faith of words is faith of trees. And songs sing
before sin. And then songs teach us to pray.

Before prayer Negroes don’t swing from trees. Landmines
don’t amputate boys. And then prayers teach hate.

When women sing, the wind sails free
through trees and makes love to the sea.

Currently living in Sequim, Washington, Risa Denenberg is an aging hippie poet who earns her keep working as a nurse practitioner. Along with Mary Meriam, she is a mistress at Headmistress Press, dedicated to publishing lesbian poetry. Her poems have been published in online and print journals over the past 30 years. She has three chapbooks, what we owe each other (The Lives You Touch Publications, 2013); In My Exam Room (forthcoming 2014, The Lives You Touch Publications) and Blinded by Clouds (forthcoming 2014, Hyacinth Girls Press), and a full-length book, Mean Distance from the Sun (Aldrich Press, 2013). She blogs here.