Lauds For St. Germaine Cousin (1579-1601)

Blessed is the One who lifts the slow sun
above this morning's raw orange edge,
who moves the ewe to nudge her birth-
stunned lamb into the flock's heat, who
leads the hen to steer her keets as soon as
they can walk into the insect-
filled, high grass, guides the owl to tear fresh
pigeon into pieces small enough
to fill the owlet's gaping bill,
and prompts the rat to lick the pup
that's not her own and take it to her side,
directs the swan to trumpet,
bob her head, and raise her wings, quivering

into a living canopy
above the nest built without hands
by those who have no hands, just wings,
wings that cannot weave but must and somehow
do, just as I twist thread from the distaff's
wild wether wool, skirted, sorted, scoured,
and drawn into bumps of roving
held awry until the sun lifts
high enough to warm these slow fingers
spinning fast and faster, dropping
the spindle like a top, whorling
fibers clockwise to pull the yarn
taut and straight, plying many into one.

by Christianne Balk

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