In memory of Jon Onye Lockard




orange and red,

the artist speaks in tones

of brown ochre and umber.


Pray, he commands.

“Your life is a song best sung.

Although I lie in this bed

I am soaring.”


He reaches and my hand

is a small goldfinch

in his broad eagle wing.


A psalm

for wisdom of doctors

honor to ancestors

strength and love to family.


Outside the window, the city

wraps spring mist

over its cold shoulders

like a shawl.


Steam rises

through the tall stacks

of the Power Center.


We watch it churn

our prayers into vibrant cloud

in the late March light.


Twisting, curling through sky

they fold and unfold

their way home

a murmuration

of starlings.

Sara O'Donnell Adler is a rabbi and serves as a hospital chaplain at the University of Michigan Health System. Her poetry has appeared in Poetica Magazine, The Bear River Review, and is forthcoming in The Broadkill Review. She lives with her family in Ann Arbor, MI, where even the birds in the backyard wear the colors maize and blue.