Let Death Keep
When I lowered my ear to the ground,
Light burst from my fingertips
And the walls around me chimed.
I’ve kept my drapes tied open;
Eyes above the edge,
I still sing a scale made from sea foam
And rice; from desire, silence.
I’ve etched each instant into my palm: don’t ask
What I’ve been
Or might become.
Think of this: a thread closing torn fabric;
A passing breeze.
Let death keep its precious cloak:
Each new breath
Smoothes my forehead,
I’d toss this sadness back to you,
But I’m exhausted; bloodied.
The shards you offered
Have begun to breathe; fill their sack
With my coins.
It was great to be alone; walk the beach.
I returned. You phoned.
I became a rag; a building
With no windows.
After honing your rage,
You drew its cord across your tongue.
A venom gushed from the cut. Your claim:
Now you’ve built a sand castle.
You believe its walls jut high enough
To block the clouds.
You reach from its gate ─ ask for my hand!
But you’ve stood with clenched fists
For far too long:
Your muscles are taut, painful.
If I could restring the bow
I’d enter, gladly.
The light rain launches its scented keel
Into the wake of this line
And well-hidden cares
A shaking begins.
My shadow’s husk splits open; snapping
The weakest strand
Of what I’ve feared – a start.
Memories twist loose;
The gnashing ends.
I can hold steady again: hand on bell cord,
Ready to pull,
Regardless of the breadth
Of my hopes.
How fine to hear a familiar bird’s call;
Rain tapping gutter.
Everything appears right:
It’s time to step up,
Turn the knob.
The pine floor
Should seem firm again.
One Step Further
A crisp memory shakes loose from my shoulders.
I step across its dream-shaped hollow,
Piecing together what’s left.
I see your shadow in its waters;
Watch as that memory’s mouth
Moistens in the here and now,
I’m not sure what part of our past
You’ll distain or regret
That instant I regain my balance; nor what part
You might desire to restore.
But my hope’s bright skin now rests against yours.
I can sense you’re mending me.
You’ve begun to untangle that sharp-edged vine
That tightened around me;
Twist open the latch
That bloodied my hand.
You’ve given me the will to reach up, cast off.
I’m no longer concerned with loss
Or what might fade or shatter.
I’m rising to you, through it all, one step further
And I’ll be there.