by Barb Jennes, Poet Laureate of Ridgefield
Artwork: “Possibilities” by Brandy PerronWhy breath?Why switch the light on in a darkened room?Why feed a newborn baby, wailing for life?Why cross a bridge to some far shore where only strangers live?Why plant flowers in the garden, knowing winter comes?Why clean the attic of dead mice, the shells of bugs, ghosts?Why open eyes when morning comes?Why discover infinitesimal things, study them through microscopes?Why voices?Why plow a fallow field?Why pluck the glass shards from an open wound?Why pray for rain to fall on parched plains?Why aspirin? Why penicillin? Why salve?Why shoes?Why let the children laugh?Why whisper prayers for impossible things?Why open up the doors to spring’s fresh ways?Why a moon at night?Why maps?Why fire at the entrance to the cave?Why shadows? Why shade?Why ice chips on a dying person’s tongue?Why scuff through dew-soaked grass in shoeless feet?Why buttercup pollen, rubbed below a chin?Why resuscitate the drowned?Why harvest honey from the hive?Why run until your heart feels it will burst?Why touch?Why rock a troubled child to sleep?Why excavate our nightmares—Tulsa, Auschwitz, Sandy Hook?Why build a taller tower—taller yet?Why telescopic eyes to gaze at stars?Why sails on ships on windless days?Why plant a tree you’ll never see bear fruit?Why wheels?Why hold a mirror to a tyrant’s face?Why open up our hearts, pour justice in?Why say their names?Why risk it all for beauty?Why ears? Why eyes?Why open up cages, let dammed water flow?Why heartbeat?Why fingertips?Why?