Sa Ta Na Ma

Author | Vivian Wagner

Sa
is the beginning, the everything, the
place where it all comes from,
the edge of the universe, the center,
spring, perhaps, or one of the
miscellaneous big bangs, or
when my daughter was born,
or, say, sprouting, or the glint
in a raven’s eye, or frost, melting

Ta
is life and creativity, the place where
the infinite finds expression, the leaf
on the tree, unfolding, my daughter
leaving for college, a text she sends me
about hiking a portion of the Appalachian
trail, her smile in the photo, the
sun behind her, the pines

Na
is a leaf curling and drying and
falling, my father collapsing on his bedroom
floor, my mother not speaking on the phone,
me, waiting for my daughter
to text that she's gotten back to
her dorm after driving late
through a darkness deeper than
a corvid’s pupil

Ma
is every phone call answered,
every text sent, every distant
star rising on every strange horizon,
not my daughter, but all the
daughters, all the trails, leading off
the edge of every photo’s frame


About the Author | Vivian Wagner lives in New Concord, Ohio, where she teaches at Muskingum University.