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Where is the Answer?

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg


Is it in the speech of the streetlight,
so determined to streak its star
of orange insistence in the fog?

Is it wherever the hummingbird goes
to stillness on a perch in the forest
across the street from the old houses?

Or is it the houses themselves, dense
with overgrowth, leaking surprise lilies
and broken trellices someone once thought
would gingerbread them into charm?

Does it sound like the dense discord of katydids
or is it as hard to hear as first pin oak leaf
dropping? Is it shaped like the curve
straight up this street into another horizon,
no shoulders or lights to save us
if we trip on our way up the mountain?

Can we find it in words like numerous,
luminous, nimbus sprung across tops of trees
until deep space swallows up their time?

Is it the space our bodies block
from bird flight but opens louder
to bird song, insect song, leaf song, road song,
entwined in the air we can’t see?


Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Ph.D., the 2009-13 Kansas Poet Laureate is the author of 24 books, including How Time Moves: New & Selected Poems; Miriam’s Well, a novel; Needle in the Bone, a non-fiction book on the Holocaust; The Sky Begins At Your Feet: A Memoir on Cancer, Community, and Coming Home to the Body. Founder of Transformative Language Arts, she is a beloved writing workshop facilitator and writing and Right Livelihood coach. She loves life-giving collaborations: she offers with Kathryn Lorenzen, with Kelley Hunt, and with Joy Roulier Sawyer. She offers weekly “Care Packages for a Creative Life” through her Patreon page. Find more about her, including her blog, “Everyday Magic” at