On a Line from an American Spiritual Teacher

The sentence that begins, Joy is what happens
to us . . . might end in Los Angeles,
Scottsdale or Miami
but it doesn’t reach Syria
where the sky
weeps petals onto a funeral cortege
for a man whose mother wants
her four remaining sons
to die for her beautiful country, because
God loves martyrs
as much as she does,
and it’s difficult
when bombs explode
in a manner more arbitrary
than accurate, and anyone
might struggle to feel they have permission
to survive the day let alone indulge
in the luxury of considering the time . . . when we
allow ourselves to recognize . . .
to find
the personal space to meditate
surrounded by dust and machine gun
fire, not to speak of the ability
to translate destruction, insecurity
and the daily presence of an enemy
as how good things really are.

David Chorlton is a European who became a longtime resident of Phoenix and has developed an interest in the wildlife of the West. He has a recent book with watercolors and poems featuring the local birds, The Flying Desert. Read other articles by David.