Sunday, August 3, 2014

Stooping down

My face over his face, looking at him carefully, 
inspecting iris to iris, nose to nose, 
sniffing, counting seconds between breaths,
seeing a man’s body return to newborn form, 
legs more like arms, pink, hairless. 
Think how firmly these feet once held him
upright, thick as granite, inflexible.
Despite the tremors, the many naps, 
the many days and nights of murmurings, 
he is still handsome in that smart haircut, 
the ancient Yaqui bones contain the blight
and he really doesn't complain too much. 
He is a man who likes to act like a man. 
I stoop down to blow the heat off his face 
and in the house somewhere I hear Out of Africa 
on the radio, his favorite soundtrack, and my whole 
being feels decades drift away like clouds 
over the sharp edge of ancient white plains, 
the stark flatness of our fate, 
wide and bright to the end.

The journey

In the place where the temperature falls
when I step out of the sun
into the dark cyan
shade of the forrest,
when I listen to my shoes crunch flotsam, 
the panting of my lab, the squeaks of flying beings 
high in the crowns,
where trees old and young 
lay across the stream, 
the young ones dying on the backs of their elders
and stumps mourn in gowns of lime green moss
and all around lay fallen leaves in yellow,
burnt umber and brick, and changing colors still,
where even in that state of doom, beauty 
does not abandon them.
This is where I take my grief, 
which is the price of love,
and where in mercy I rest
and let go of fear 
and love the world.

If only

If only God Almighty were not so
What gruesome death that crucifixtion
of any son, of any blood and body 
and why must every soul be offered up?
If only God did not need hell on earth--
if only that everlasting hell could be enough
to satisfy His revenge.
If only He did not demand redemption
for all of humankind, the innocent beside
the evil, but most especially 
by horrific immolation.
If only God could be content.
Withdraw demands for victimhood,
for our extreme obedience.
If only He truly loved as father, mother, friend,
we would not be so afflicted by pestilence, war and famine,
and countless other terrors
by the Him who wants to be exalted
daily for all this misery.
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want,
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life.

If only.  If only God would come to this.


Then, one day it is completely gone, 
all the love,
the heart feels empty again, 
beating barely just for one, 
just for itself alone, 
after all the love 
finally leached,
the heart dries and hardens
--the peach eaten, 
the pit spit out.

It's wrong

We watch it together, the way the sickness robs
his body’s surface, slackens and liquifies 
just as each year the fresh autumn pumpkins
extirpate in summer heat and sink
into grassland.
We have discussed it, we have seen the signs
of the deranging force and we have joked 
about how its witchy extortion hovers in no 
hurry for us, only drifting our way 
with starts and stops, and, we thought its 
descent would always be lethargic, 
we thought we had ample time 
and then late afternoon I was turning on TV
and glanced his way and there it was, kneeling 
by the bed, reaching for him, extorting him 
from the room. But he resists, holds on tightly
to his air, his thinning matter and I watch 
from the chair rocking all night, the extorting 
force crawling around my feet, climbing into 
the bed purring beside him who sweats in sleep 
and I rock and pray to Him I don’t see or know: 
Please do not deploy your power in this way. 
And my faith takes another blow.