The History Helpers

Charlene Langfur

They are all over the place now. The white tailed rabbits
leaping over the sand dunes into the bushes. This is always
a sign it is winter. They return almost to the day they disappeared
from the desert heat of summer. In the dusk a half moon is visible
in a half light. The moon. The passage of time. The slow turning
of the planets and spheres in a universe of black holes and solid
land. Here we are on it. The earth and its moon. The crows in the
sycamores tracking what is dangerous and what is cool. They name
what they know. I am sure of this as they caw for minutes at a time.
The fire ants are out and the Monarchs are here from Mexico and
winter travelers arrive by the busload looking for what is clement,
the paradise the heart aches for, one without records or journals,
one the memory keeps in its own way, as if there is a story in it. I try
to map it in my poems before I go to sleep. Taking to the obvious
first. Sticking with what is. The hummingbird in the pine tree in
early morning. The newspaper in the morning. How it taps at the
apartment door. How the dog barks even if the sound is so low
it is inaudible. She knows.  And tonight, I’ve left the colored
pencils out to color in amazing cities. I’m thinking history is light
blue, soft enough to absorb anything, what passes, what touches
the heart at the same time.

Charlene is an organic gardener, a southern Californian, a Syracuse University Graduate Writing Fellow whose most recent publications include a series of poems in Poetry East, poems in Earth's Daughters, The MacGuffin, Sugar Mule, and an essay in Evening Street Review.

"What motivates me to write? I write because I always have. Writing all the time is how poetry gets written, with time and patience, and for me, as Adrienne Rich teaches, it is a dream of a common language we are all writing. I am ardent environmentalist and this also is part of all my work."