Perhaps the World End Here

Perhaps the World Ends Here
Joy Harjo (1951--)

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 and dogs away from it. Babies
     teethe at the corners. They scrape their
     knees under it.

It is here that chickens 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. The 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.

We have begun and ended at the 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 

Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table,
     while we are laughing and crying, eating of 
     the last sweet bite.

Joy Harjo was appointed the new United States poet laureate
in 2019. Born in Tusa Oklahoma in 1951. She is a member of the
Musoke/Creek Nation.  

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