Outside the Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles
Ravens fly over the skyscrapers, cutting the blue above S. Figueroa Street and you want to know what they see from that vantage point, what they eat, whether rats are scurrying where the helicopters land. I look around for green to touch beneath the gleaming, beyond the people on the streets. What reason for the inequality of days? The ravens reel in loopy circles thirty stories high. A monstrous crane slowly lowers a row of men down the side of a skyscraper to clean its eyes, the glass as bluish-green as the sea, the air washed with the sounds of sirens a mile away, the homeless returning.
An early hour is a good hour
In the cold dawn, the cottontails have emptied themselves from the dense thicket of Russian olives lining the driveway.
They race into the headlights then freeze like dewdrops on grass tips, chopping the quiet up.
I stop so they can finish what they’ve started.
An early hour is a good hour to talk to cottontails and ask why god has made some perfect.
I study their grey rabbit faces, their eyes sent to the sides of their heads
their coats and soft napes, their lack of pretense.
I consider the habits we each have formed for early morning, overlapping in our orbits our daily rituals pausing and repeating in the half-light of dawn
repetition a key that opens a door.
To All the Starlings
To all the starlings making murmurations above us, across sky-beams, yawning blue-shafts exchanging air for feathers as if one organism, to all the horses and other odd-toed ungulates corralled or caught or pushed off stamps of land, to all the cetaceans and crustaceans traveling the oceans, beached or taken to a lab, to all the chickens, pigs and other domestics, the salmon and the sturgeon and other bony fish, to all the wildcats in the world, to all the ants of industry, to all egg-laying queens washing themselves clean in moth light to the last red wolf and all the dogs—
I take note, murmuring my admiration.
If existence is the exchange is the music is the water flowing down the light it catches is the dripping of the sounds in evening gutters if we are open and aware of all the others if the exchange is the music is the stars exploding—
Sharon Tracey is the author of two full-length poetry collections, Chroma: Five Centuries of Women Artists (Shanti Arts Publishing, 2020) and What I Remember Most Is Everything (All Caps Publishing, 2017). Her poems have appeared in The Worcester Review, Mom Egg Review, Tule Review,The Ekphrastic Review, and elsewhere. She previously served as an environmental program director and communications director at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Find her at sharontracey.com.
Header photo of downtown Los Angeles by Gabriele Maltinti, courtesy Shutterstock.