To invent the alef-beit,
decipher the grammar of crows,
read a tangle of bare branches
with vowels of the last leaves
scrawling their jittery speech
on the sky’s pale page.
Choose a beginning.
See what God yields and dirt cedes
when tines disturb fescue, vetch, and sage,
when your hand dips grain from a sack,
scattering it among engraved furrows.
Beyond the hill, a plume of dust
where oxen track the hours.
Does God lead or follow or scout?
To answer, count to one again and again:
a red maple leaf and a yellow maple leaf
that wind rifles and rain shines until they let go,
blazing their scripted nothingness on air.
Emily Warn, “Seeding an Alphabet” from Shadow Architect. Copyright © 2008 by Emily Warn. Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press.
Source: Shadow Architect
(Copper Canyon Press, 2008)