William Kloefkorn

Braids

From Swallowing the Soap: New and Selected Poems by William Kloefkorn Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2010.

After all,
we are partners in this land,
co-signers of a covenant.
At my touch the wild
braid of creation
trembles.

Stanley Kunitz, “The Snakes of September”

Is this too much
to bargain for, the hope
that all things woven and braided

can somehow provide the covenant
to make us partners in a land
of multiple divisions?

One answers lies in the bright routine
of doing such braiding and such weaving
as we have the skills to do,

to dance then with our sacred arts
intact, art done with hands
that we extend by dancing, wearing,

as we do, history and good intentions
in our hair and on our shoulders,
our movements those of many channels

flowing among the many islands that serve
to make the river what it is, joining
made possible by differences,

union through the handiwork of hands.

Reproduced from Swallowing the Soap: New and Selected Poems by William Kloefkorn, edited and with an introduction by Ted Genoways, by permission of the University of Nebraska Press. Copyright 2010 by the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska.