It is September

I go to see my mom.
Through the glass door, she whispers, stay still,
stay very still, non ti muovere …
I stand as still as possible on her front sidewalk and wait,
watch the sadness leave her face,
watch her face fill with light,
as the tree fills with birds.
They sing to us, loudly,
they know one hundred and fifty-two different songs.
They love her, the tiny Italian woman, the bird whisperer.
This is her gift to me since we can no longer hug.
We have not hugged all year. We are “distancing…”
She knows I am going to die if I cannot hug her,
so she tells the birds to fill my heart, aching, with their tiny song.

Silvana Straw is a poet, writer, performer and cultural organizer. Her solo performances have been commissioned by The Washington Performing Arts Society, GALA Theatre and Dance Place. She has performed throughout the U.S. including: The Kennedy Center and National Gallery of Art (DC); Galleria de la Raza (San Francisco); Nuyorican Poets Café (NY); Out North Theatre (Anchorage); and the Art Institute of Chicago.  She is DC’s original poetry Slam Champion. She has been instrumental in building the DC poetry and spoken word community over the past 40 years including as curator/producer of countless poetry / performance series and events. She served as a mentor/coach for the first DC Youth Slam Teams. She  has performed, collaborated and toured with many artists including Guillermo Gomez-Peña. Her work is part of The Poet & the Poem from The Library of Congress audio series that will be archived in the Lunar Codex, a time capsule of art, music, poetry and film, headed to the Lunar South Pole in 2024.