After Mary Oliver’s poem The Kookaburras (House of Light) We only forget the well-meaning thought if it has been acted on. Even if we resolve never again to only think when the empty plastic bottle is chucked from the passenger window; when the slur is passed not so quietly between privileged teeth; when the boy (of any age) is not only allowed, but encouraged to go on “being a boy” at the expense of everyone else; Even if we resolve to stop these and other, much larger atrocities from now on, with what power we possess regret of the unspoken lingers on the pallet. The wounds of the past still demand to be healed. In every heart there is a coward and a procrastinator, a field of flowers, each petal in various stages of growth and disarray. We don’t become the god of these flowers when we realize it is our destiny. Destiny might be a promise, a prediction of potential, but it is only made and kept by the destined. No one is owed a destiny. When I am met by indecision I still listen for my heartbeat and, like the flowers, I follow the sun. I am not yet a god of even the palest flowers. But I understand their soil now and that they need the rain to breathe. I do the things I can control. And because I kneel, with my knees in the dirt And pray into the roots underneath, I know, one day, their quiet petals will open for me.
Shannon Donaghy is a lesbian poet and book publicist from South Jersey. Her poetry appears in Plum Tree Tavern, Sapphic Writers, Journal of New Jersey Poets, and more. She’s been a guest on Karamo with Karamo Brown as well as The Hidden Compass Podcast. When she’s not writing, reading, or writing about reading, she enjoys hiking, painting, and cooking with her partner, Reilly.