“Bred to Shine”

In Any Event

by Dorianne Laux

If we are fractured
we are fractured
like stars
bred to shine
in every direction,
through any dimension,
billions of years
since and hence.

I shall not lament
the human, not yet.
There is something
more to come, our hearts
a gold mine
not yet plumbed,
an uncharted sea.

Nothing is gone forever.
If we came from dust
and will return to dust
then we can find our way
into anything.

What we are capable of
is not yet known,
and I praise us now,
in advance.

From Raleigh Review, Fall 2019.
Reprinted with permission.

Dorianne Laux’s “In Any Event” is a poem tailored for our times. I would like to say that it gives me hope, yet what I feel after reading the poem runs much deeper than that. If we hope for something, there’s a note of uncertainty, the sense that things might still go the other, undesired way. Faith, on the other hand, is total belief, unmarred by thoughts of doubt or fear, at least in the moment we feel it. And here, Laux not only refuses to “lament the human,” she also deeply trusts that “there is something/more to come,” stemming from our hearts rather than from our minds. Even in the first lines, she will not fully admit the “fractured” nature of humans, implying instead that if we are as divided as we sometimes seem, it is this very brokenness that, like the stars, allows us “to shine in every direction.” “In Any Event” reminds me of Polish poet Adam Zagajewski’s famous poem, “Try to Praise the Mutilated World,” yet there is no mere attempt at praise here: Laux is full-throated in her belief that as humans we can still leap beyond the current limits of our imagination and “find our way/into anything.” Above all, this poem points to those unmapped, “uncharted” places in our hearts yet to be explored, where the potent power of faith and praise both find their source.

—James Crews