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Painted Poem #4/21

When They Arrive

When those radiant mango-eyed beings finally light down on the wheat fields and ball parks of our planet, it won’t be to speak

with our political leaders; they won’t ask to be taken to the summit conference or talk about trade. They will have come

for the trees. They will ask to be brought to the woodland banyans and old-growth redwoods, to the ancient cedars of Lebanon.

They will come to sit with the elders.

To sink their feet into the earth and drink with them. They will come

for the understory, for the urgencies that break the code of the seed. They will want to learn the art of standing

in two worlds—to share secrets with mushrooms and larvae while holding a bird in the palm of your hand.

Their puzzles will not be gravity or strategies for keeping boots on the ground. They will come for the other law—

the upward surge, the inexorable yen for starlight, and dark matter—that bittersweet a cappella strain that braids through and through it.

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