Poem of the Week: “Perhaps the World Ends Here,” by Joy Harjo

SunMistMountain

Perhaps the World Ends Here

 

The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.

 

The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation,

and it will go on.

 

We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape their

knees under it.

 

It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make

men at it, we make women.

 

At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.

 

Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our children. They laugh

with us at our poor falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back together once again

at the table.

 

This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun.

 

Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place to hide in the shadow of terror. A

place to celebrate the terrible victory.

 

We have given birth on this table, and have prepared our parents for burial here.

 

At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We pray of suffering and remorse. We give

thanks.

 

Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laughing and crying, eating

of the last sweet bite.


 

From The Woman Who Fell From the Sky: Poems, by Joy Harjo. W.W. Norton, 1994.

Published by cpoetrymsu

The Center for Poetry opened in the fall of 2007 to encourage the reading, writing, and discussion of poetry and to create an awareness of the place and power of poetry in our everyday lives. We think about this in a number of ways, including through readings, shows, community outreach, and workshops. We are at work building a poetry community at MSU and in the greater Lansing area. Contact: cpoetry@msu.edu (517) 884-1932 http://www.poetry.rcah.msu.edu

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