Begin Again

by Sandra Alcosser

Because of open woodland
With quivering sun patches

A bird’s eye might observe a worm
Chiseling under earth’s

Skin—because of granite boulders
Full of egg cases holding

Spiderlings—because of purple berries
Come sweet in July—chokecherry

Shadblow Nanking
Hips and haws ripening—

Branch nesters build summer nurseries
On the face of our cabin—the same family

Every year or their progeny
On ridgepole—purlin—crossbeam

Sensitive to each human gesture
Inside the window and when men

Come to paint the fascia or spray
The log base and its foundation

The nester will abandon her clutch
Of eggs—blued by mineral blood—

And begin to weave a new nest
High above squirrels and house cats

For aren’t we all pattern-making animals—
Make a beautiful thing and you’ve done all you can

To battle a friend said to me
And a people-adapted species—

Nuthatch or chickadee or these
Robins—become a kind of mother country—

Like you dear America—offering a body each day
For someone to make a wasteland—

I would like to weave with the surety
Of that robin—only a heartbeat

And a wrist wing to shape her nest—
A shaggy cup of mud and spiderweb

Come greed come windstorm—begin again

Sandra Alcosser is the author of A Fish to Feed All Hunger and Except by Nature. The founder of San Diego State University’s MFA program and editor of Poetry International, she was Montana’s first poet laureate.

Originally published on as part of the Letters to America series and reprinted in Dear America: Letters of Hope, Habitat, Defiance, and Democracy.

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