Now the earth was formless and void,
and darkness was over the surface of the deep. –Genesis 1:2
Birds don’t sing.
Jazz don’t swing.
Bees don’t hive.
Men don’t jive.
Life swims before it flies.
Life crawls before it leaps.
Before houses, men don’t build prisons.
Before fences, coyotes don’t kill chickens.
And then earth is partitioned.
Trees teach birds to perch.
Birds teach frogs to jump.
Frogs teach girls to skip rope.
Girls teach words to sing.
Songs sing before sin.
Sins teach women to pray.
And then prayers teach hate.
Women aren’t spoils of war.
Black men don’t swing from trees.
Landmines don’t amputate boys.
Kids don’t drown in the sea.
First published in slight faith, MoonPath Press.
Risa Denenberg lives on the Olympic peninsula in Washington state where she works as a nurse practitioner. She is a co-founder and editor at Headmistress Press, publisher of LBT poetry. She has published three chapbooks and three full length collections of poetry, including Whirlwind @ Lesbos (Headmistress Press, 2016) and slight faith (MoonPath Press, 2018).
Painting, The Salinger Profile, by Jenn Zed. Used by permission.