I was born in a season of assassinations.
In a brownstone walk-up, my caretaker was German.
She quoted Rilke, turning toward evening’s shadows.
Even now, I believe in holiness, in consolations beginning
just after crowds disperse. Also in grief as a tone
in my voice, in how the soul goes forth if only
to straighten a tablecloth or to frame a woman’s chair
so she can watch for a certain bird appearing
in forsythia limbs, weighing them weightlessly down.
Jeff Hardin is the author of Fall Sanctuary, recipient of the Nicholas Roerich Prize, and Notes for a Praise Book, selected by Toi Derricotte for the Jacar Press Book Award. His third collection, Restoring the Narrative, received the 2015 Donald Justice Prize from West Chester University Poetry Center. His fourth collection, Small Revolution, appeared in early 2016, and his fifth collection, No Other Kind of World, recently received the X. J. Kennedy Prize and will be published in 2017. The New Republic, The Hudson Review, The Southern Review, Southwest Review, North American Review, The Gettysburg Review, Poetry Northwest, Hotel Amerika, and Southern Poetry Review have published his poems. He teaches at Columbia State Community College in Columbia, TN.