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Clade Song 10

& While the Power Was Out

     Hot winds settled east of here;
the blurred silences began. Stripes of
the nuthatch stayed when the nuthatch
   flew off; & though you felt
 the sunlight might bring harm,
   an odd forgiveness entered the suburbs
            where, like the dog in childhood,
       you drew comfort from the floor.

Some adults were baffled wondering what
         to do next. Shouldn’t they know?
  You sat quite still, & still,
            all the way up your spine
reason had hung its unfathomable lights. 
         O.k., then: you were supposed
      to remain strong; you knew this.
You were supposed not to worry.

     Once you were strong; the rare
historical voices moved aside so you
   could be different. Now, afternoon was
            dark, so how to tell which  
 ones were real? They pressed along
through massive centuries. What do you
         need? What shall we do now,
they kept asking you, their ideal.




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Brenda Hillman is the author of ten collections of poetry from Wesleyan University Press, including Extra Hidden Life, Among the Days (2018)which won the Northern California Book Award. She has edited and co-translated numerous books, most recently At Your Feet by Ana Cristina Cesar— co-translated with Helen Hillman.   Sobre un dia, en el mundo a collection of Hillman’s work in Spanish, has been translated by Ezequiel Zaidenwerg. She currently serves as a Chancellor for the Academy of American Poets, co-directs the Poetry Program of the Community of Writers and teaches at Saint Mary’s College of California.