Monthly Archives: March 2017

Starlings

One Sunday, I rubbed sleep from Moorish eyes, tossed on clothes and shoes, then cooked breakfast: chorizo potato huevos, toast, and hot yerba tea. No orange juice–but I woke up with this old hymn stuck in my head.

Would you be free from
the burden of sin? There’s pow’r
in the blood. Power…

Eyeing sky out the kitchen window, I spied starlings, many starlings; oh so many starlings perched on electric wires again. After burning my lip on tea, I spent numerous minutes imagining a ton of reasons why birds might perch on lines like that. Oklahoma had perfectly fine trees. Yet these starlings picked wires for all their sittin’ lined up across the city. Why did they do that? I settled on only this: these birds longed, like me, for a safe place to go sit close to power. Not power in the wires; that would be ridiculous. They liked power in solidarity.

Come for a cleansing
to Calvary’s tide; There’s won-
derful pow’r in the…

So I set out to attend a church, por qué no. On arriving too early for the big service, a deacon handed me a name sticker then funneled me toward something called an adult group for discussion, the topic: the Mexican Border. Unprepared, I listened to the discussion leader and to the other folks gathered there. The talk was there’s only one language: English. I didn’t know that, but aye, aye, aye! And, “The restaurants are fine,” one man said, “but the Mexicans must leave.” It was an emergency.

Would you be whiter,
much whiter than snow? There’s pow’r
in the blood. Power…

I ran my eyes across the Gospel faces of the people on pews. Everyone got a chance to speak their English. No one spoke French, German, Chinese or any of the other languages they might have had. It was an only English event. I ran a hand across my forehead then back through my hair. I got it; yet I didn’t–birds of a feather, I guess, only in a cage. My mind escaped for a moment; thoughts just flew right on out of there and landed in a different place in my head.  Once there, I silently told myself the story of my mother and how, during the last waves of Eisenhower deportaciónes, my Appalachian father married her and brought her to the states.

Sin-stains are lost in
its life-giving flow; There’s won-
derful pow’r in the…

I never returned to that Church since the discussion leader’s talk. No lo quiero. For what it was worth, I would still rise early on Sundays, dress myself, cook breakfast, and peek out the window at the weather where I would once in a while spot starlings perched on electricity. One bird would fly off, swoop around, pick at something on the ground, look around, then fly back up to sit with friends on wires. I would envied those starlings lined up on electrical lines with all their power. But me, I would just eat breakfast then kick back on the sofa with a remote flipping through cable channels. Then on other Sundays,  I would drive to my mother’s house where we’d sit around watching programs on Telemundo TV.

There is pow’r, pow’r, won-
der-working pow’r in the
precious blood of the…

 

 

 

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Filed under Poetry