What If I’d Not Been Raised to Know You?


This poem was a finalist in the 2023 BYU Studies poetry contest.

I think I would have noticed. You call to me in pluckings
of strings in the dark, in salty seaweed and woodsmoke
and crickets and even the traffic. I would hear, I think.
I’d find you in my own breath, in the 3 a.m. street-
light on my pillow, the tug of a baby latched on my breast.
I’d feel you in the heartswell of a choir of others who seek you,
the skinny young Orthodox Jew I saw davening
in his car in the parking lot, the old man bowing over soup
at the diner. The teenage church boys pant as they shovel
the holy snow from the driveways of the widows on my street
making the din of Zion, the same song sung in AA meetings
or at Stonehenge, and I am not tone deaf. I would turn
my head. I would have scented you on the wind.



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Print ISSN: 2837-0031
Online ISSN: 2837-004X