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Sunday, September 14, 2008


by Joy Gaines-Friedler

This is the hour before the wind,
before watering, winning, oil
cans, gas cans, core issues, clanking
cacophony. Before the word
country. This is the hour when
the mallards stir, clear throats, cluck, shake,
eye thistle and corn at the feeders,
eye tadpoles, float, feed, paddle, pluck.
This is the hour before the sun
has risen over the edge of
arborvitae and spruce, before
daylilies open in its heat,
before another desperate blast
from the hill, noise drummed out
because we can’t stand to hear
the hum of vehemence, another
frame, a roving band of framers,
forging, marching, for the sake
of what? for what? for what? This is
the hour before foreign and freedom,
before dressing, pressing cults and sects,
before suicide, walls, mortar, motors,
employ, deploy. This is the hour before
thirst, before belts and vests, before prayer
and martyrdom. Before breakfast, buses,
bones, backpacks, brigadiers, before nails
and bits of metal, before redeploying
cell phones, web sites, framers. This
is the hour before refilling the feeders.

Joy Gaines-Friedler's poems have been featured in many literary magazines including, The Litchfield Review, RATTLE, Margie and The Pebble Lake Review. Her first book of poems - Like Vapor - was published by Mayapple Press in 2008. Joy lives in Farmington Hills, Michigan, with her husband, three cats, and lots of wild life she tries to protect, including a neighborhood coyote. She teaches creative writing workshops to young adults considered "at risk" through Common Ground, a mental health core provider. She also tutors Political Science and English courses at Oakland Community College.