Here I sit in my artist loft with the snow falling softly outside and the warmth that rises, as heat will do, all the way to my fifth floor perch and huddles like favorable clouds at the apex of my vaulted ceilings. Here I sit, margarita in hand and the novel I’m writing waiting for my attention, my fingers with desires of their own to work on it.

I am ensconced in so much luxury and feathered comfort — this even though I am not wealthy, I am not rich. And I think about the refugees fleeing horrors and nightmares manifest. Think about the gilded door shut and the howling from the other side.

Is it any wonder that the only ink that touches my manuscript tonight is salty and wet?

I am looking for all the ways I can make that small difference, the kind we all can make, the kind that although it is small, when I add my action to yours and hers and his and theirs, it increases in momentum and becomes a landslide.

I and my pebbles are ready to ride.

Ekphrastic Poem

Photographer unknown

Your muse has shrunk herself down
to the size of a hummingbird’s hummingbird.
She is standing on the top of your antitragus.
She is sea emerald, her feathers miniature waves.
She covers her long sharp honey seeking beak
with her feathers as if they are a hand
as she leans in to whisper her words to float
like tiny boats
on the long canal that leads to spiraling
cochlea, a charbydis of sorts,
and they undergo a transformation
in the maelstrom of nerve impulses
that rises in your brain.
This time it is the wing of a hummingbird
that sets off a hurricane. — Annette Marie Smith