Sunrise Is Only a Question
by Sam Barbee

Rain is sleep, snow pain, wind
a kiss with furtive tongue.
Read the omens before turning
to another light, its new queries,
and dawn’s startle of sermons and sutras.
Darkness remains the perfected form.

Weary bartering with vile saints,
I have mellowed overnight, am wiser.
Resolved to convert era to epic, epoch to ode.
Pet my feral dread. No predator dare speak
because each understands I will leash them
to a hollow tree, promote their humiliation.

I jog the curvy road where the side-ditch
of weakness is adored – intersect a thin bridge.
Teeter out to marvel river’s width, maybe
swan-dive between sink and shiver.
Or walk the far road leading to a plain
of promises where ugliness bonds

with splendor. I should confess, but to whom?
Remedies emerge from discomfort,
but hope blends a dream and a prayer.
Daybreak can transform lacking into flourish.
Decipher which questions shall be addressed,
while which others will not.

PAINTING: Sunrise of Wonder by John Miller.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem reflects both the human misunderstanding of Mother Earth and how to treat her, how to acknowledge and look past our indiscretions with her, and a hint of optimism, I hope. I write every morning.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sam Barbee has a new collection, Uncommon Book of Prayer (2021, Main Street Rag).  His previous poetry collection, That Rain We Needed (2016, Press 53), was a nominee for the Roanoke-Chowan Award as one of North Carolina’s best poetry collections of 2016.  His poems have appeared recently in Poetry South, Literary Yard, Asheville Poetry Review, and Adelaide Literary Magazine, among others; plus the on-line journals American Diversity Report, Exquisite Pandemic, Verse Virtual, The Voices Project, and Medusa’s Kitchen. He is a two-time Pushcart nominee.