Dear Child, Listen
Listen now to the hush
of the world. Listen to how the cars
don’t whir long into the night.
Listen to how the people
in all their busyness have
stopped their noise, their
chaos, their overwhelm.
Listen, Dear Child, to the slowing
pulse of the earth beating
— no pounding — its urgent
sirens of help in our chests.
Listen, Child, to the song of
the cardinal competing only
with the sound of your
own shallow breath.
Listen, Dear Child, to how the fresh
spring breeze feels so cool against
the giant tears that are falling,
falling, falling on our cheeks.
Listen to the fog of grief
rising up into the atmosphere,
sticking to our skins like wet leaves,
like hope stickers on light poles.
Listen, Dear One, to the cries of
the world in pain, in agony, over
big and small losses, far too many to
comprehend, far too many to mourn.
Listen, Dear Child, for the joys
of the other children’s laughter
ringing out in the depths of your
active, happy imagination.
Listen. Listen. Just listen.
Listen to the silence so thick
it feels like molasses sliding
slowly down a glass Pyrex bowl.
Yes. Listen, Dear One. Listen for
the heartbeat of the world slowing down
to a much-needed and much resisted stop.
Listen, Dear Child, to the hope that is
ringing out in your sweet little ears in
between each and every little masked
breath you take. Listen, especially, for that.
— Shawn Fink