Things fell apart this week, and as the week ends, we are back 100% online to finish our school year. The government has shut down schools as of June 11th and banned graduations and other end-of-year gatherings. All this is due to our COVID numbers going way up again.
I'm trying to focus on the fact that we spent almost the whole year doing in-person school; we were really only online a few days here and there. We did hybrid school at the beginning; we masked and distanced; we put lessons online all year for the kids who were at home off and on. But we were mostly in each other's presence way more than we thought we would be, back in August when we were contemplating this year.
I read this poem that Jamaal May wrote for Detroit, and it made me think of the city where I live, so often defined in print by what it doesn't have. It doesn't have wealth, at least not spread around. It doesn't have infrastructure. It doesn't have vaccines.
It does have birds, though.
There Are Birds Here
by Jamaal May
There are birds here,
so many birds here
is what I was trying to say
when they said those birds were metaphors
for what is trapped
and buildings. No.
his neighborhood is not like a war zone.
I am trying to say
is as tattered and feathered
as anything else,
Here's the rest. (You should really go read the whole thing. It's short.)
I spent a lot of time with this poem. Jamaal May is saying many things in it, but I think one of the things he's saying is that just because people aren't wealthy doesn't mean they aren't fully three-dimensional, existing in the world as complete human beings. And it doesn't mean they are pitiful and "ruined," as he says at the end of the poem. And also, they get to make their own metaphors.
At least, I think he is saying those things.
He's definitely saying that there are birds in Detroit. And we definitely have birds here in Port-au-Prince, too.
Here's another poem about birds that aren't metaphors.
by Raymond Carver
A crow flew into the tree outside my window.
It was not Ted Hughes's crow, or Galway's crow.
Or Frost's, or Pasternak's, or Lorca's crow.
Or one of Homer's crows, stuffed with gore
after the battle. This was just a crow.
Here's the rest. (This one is even shorter than the other one.)