Guardian by Penelope Scambly Schott

A veiled woman stands tall
among stars. Every night
she rotates the shining sky.
Some of her stars are old,
others are not yet visible.
She’s been busy tending to stars
since before the beginning of counting.

On earth she has four children
and each child is beloved:
water for spilling through channels,
air for hugging shapes,
loose dirt for its grit,
and fire for lighting the sky.
Her name is Do not despair.

In her netted veil she watches
as a mama skunk drinks
from a stream that ripples over rocks,
the kits safe in their burrow
under the luster of stars.
The skunk’s white stripe
might be the Milky Way.


Penelope Scambly Schott’s most recent book is HOW I BECAME AN HISTORIAN.  She lives in Portland and Dufur, Oregon where she teaches an annual poetry workshop.

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