Evie Shockley

notes for the early journey

somewhere along the way you will need to lean
over a bluff’s edge drop your shoes and keep moving use
the feel of greening grass under your feet as a guide if a
rainbow confuses you which end go the third
way on the mountain you’ll remember climb on
up to where the aspens tremble you will be alone these
high winds can knife some lungs to gasping rags but for you
there’s nothing to worry about breathe sniff the air like
a bloodhound and head the opposite way find the
place where the land dissolves into sand keep walking when
that sand becomes sea speak a bridge into being
i know you can do it your father’s son ain’t
heard of can’t follow the song don’t stop until you’re south
of sorrow and all you can smell is jasmine i never
once stumbled on such a place hard to say if a brown child
in the last four hundred years has had such
a luscious dream day or night but this is your mother’s
lullaby i know she meant you to sleep sweet
— for j.

Evie Shockley
notes for the early journey was originally published in The Beloit Poetry Journal, Vol. 53, No. 4, Spring 2004.
Poem, copyright © 2004 by Evie Shockley
Appearing on From the Fishouse with permission
Audio file, copyright © 2004, From the Fishouse