Door County Writes: ‘The One Who Is Needed’

Poetry by Sharon Auberle

…you may be the one who is needed, the one who is there.

Desmond Tutu
maybe I am the one 
who is needed now
this autumn morning
in our merciless year of 2020   
           for I am the one who is here
placing tall sunflowers 
in a vase by the window
sharing with passersby 
their gilded faces 

they bring their bravado to my life
in these unspeakable times  
sometimes a small hope
        for a moment or two
        that we will not perish
while the world is burning
turning into an inferno

19 years ago in this season
the towers were burning
           3000 people died
the death toll now of this hideous plague
            has reached over  200,000

I can’t  begin to take it all in --
tanks in the savaged streets
           men and women of peace
                      falling   falling   falling
overflowing hospitals and morgues
the newly homeless under
apocalyptic Western skies
the smoke    the flames    
the dying animals
red clouds above the Pacific
which means peace

               but there is no peace to be found today

so I drink in the flowers   
the diamond bright sky here   for now
and I think again of the days after 9/11
empty skies overhead
the deserted roads I walked in fear

            how shock and terror accompanied me
            their icy hands in my unwilling ones   

and I was soothed then only 
by the song of an unseen bird
and a single lily blooming 
in a neighbor’s window

today a masked man passes by my house
looks up and sees me watching 
sees the flowers beaming their joy to him
and he can’t help but wave 

           beneath the mask I think he is smiling 

                       though all around us brooding clouds mass
                                 and the life-giving light slowly fades

Sharon Auberle is a poet and photographer who served as Door County Poet Laureate for 2017-19. She has authored a number of books, including her most recent, Dovetail, a book of sketches and poems, co-authored with poet and artist Jeanie Tomasko, which won the WFOP Chapbook of the Year award. Auberle continues to write and take pictures, inspired by her love of the land, trees and waters of this stunningly beautiful place where she gets to live.

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