Evening Hymn (1/5)
“The only time drinking is acceptable is during the Eucharist.”
But the wine stains me like blood.
I haven’t written in a few days,
But writing is my salvation.
I am drunk with language;
Intoxicated by meaning
Until my head aches with reality in the morning.
The I-See-You (2/5)
They say a man can live to be 100 with your heart condition.
They say a man can live to be 100 with stage 4 kidney failure.
They say a man can live to be 100 with remnants of pneumonia,
But not with mantle cell leukemia.
And not with a stroke.
And not with all of these things at once.
I was convinced that there was magic in your house—
A secret corridor!
This corridor is not secret. It has big black letters that read:
Intensive Care Unit.
In it, I see you sleeping.
But I also see you sorting mail
And picking up dust bunnies.
I see you watching football,
I see you at my ballet recitals,
I see you at church, and I see you at city hall.
I see many different yous—all anywhere but here
Because I’m not ready to look at the new you yet.
One day I will have to.
When I go home,
I will see all the yous I’ve ever seen before.
And the new you will join them (hopefully not very often).
And I will wait until I get to see you again.
I am caught up in a morass of quicksand–
The real kind that takes you slowly.
You think you can just step out,
But it becomes hard and traps you in.
The sand is possessive. If you can escape, it’ll take your shoe
And you’ll lag behind everyone else
And your socks will be dirty
And you’ll walk home ashamed.
Maybe it’s worse to lose your shoe;
A part of a whole set will always be missing
And both shoes will be useless.
I would rather be sucked in to the pit.
Soft Hands (4/5)
Yours is my favorite hand to hold.
A squeeze for good grades,
A caress for coming back,
A shake for “I love you.”
Your hands are so soft.
When I was little, you told me I would need soft hands
To catch a ball and tie a knot and write in cursive.
I asked Fra Angelico’s angel to look after you.
(The painter was a monk, you know. That must count for something.
He will surely talk to God for us and ask Him to take care of you.)
His hands are soft—painted so smoothly.
He is puro and devoto.
His hands will bless you.
Now I am aware of my tense hands
When I write a poem and dry my eyes and wave goodbye.
I will smile and try to be softer for you.
I will hold your hand until the angel comes to bring you home.
The Stained Glass’s Grievance (The Jewel Stair’s Grievance – Ezra Pound) (5/5)
The stained glass windows are already quite dusty from years of neglect
It is so late that the moon barely illuminates the figures’ story
And I turn back with their eyes watching me
And read the same scripture on the eagle’s wings
We went to the lake today after school.
The stones were warm from the soaked-up sun
And they left pretty imprints on my hands.
The water was so icy cold that it froze our toes.
We laughed and watched the minnows dart around.
We listened to the water lap against the concrete and the cars drive by.
Today I am listening to your favorite song
Because there are no lakes around here
And it’s the sound closest to that day after school.
Cross the street
Go back home and change your shoes!
You won’t need those anymore.
Take a walk around the back way,
And don’t you dare stop for anything
Until you find something new.
Oh, you found something?
Took you long enough.
There is newness everywhere;
You just have to know where to look.
From “Gabriel’s Oboe”
Soaring with heavy wings and a heavy heart
Then diving into the depths below
Away from the harmful world above,
And into a deep sleep.
Held in place by the healing waters.
Even when the waves tear through the air,
And the wind rips over the surface of the sea,
The sand gleams
And the seaweed flows gently
The sparkling light of the sun can only be seen
From below the surface.
Flawless (for Sage)
Named for a bait and tackle company
You are able to reel the truth out of me.
Just as sage can cleanse a household,
So you cleanse my heart
You are my nebulizer
And I your emergency inhaler
We breathe life into each other.
You know that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
You know that an object in motion tends to stay in motion.
I know that the same goes for your thoughts.
The dust in the West hangs in the air
But your mask guards your lungs
Just as it guards your broken heart
And my mask guards my own, but not from you,
The only one who knows my secrets.
At night I drive and think of you
A truck hurtles past me
But your love is as strong as a sheet of metal
Your mind as swift as the west wind
There are silver threads that follow you wherever you go
Tying us together
Mine is covered in blue and white beads that you designed for me
Your own is pink and purple
To make you happy and to remind you:
It’s okay to be a child
You are the constant in a world that only changes
Like a rock among sandcastles on the beach,
Which only wash away
You are permanently by my side
I have only ever been alone for one minute of my life
The minute before you came
I am afraid to leave you and be alone again
We might be separated by thousands of miles
We might only see each other a few times a year
But you will always be with me
And I will always be with you