Poetry

Poetry

All the news

Some look to angels
for news of the holy.
On my knees in the earth
of my garden,
hot sun rakes
my hair, licks
my neck, presses
me down, stuns
me with all the news
I can bear.

Lacunae

I praise the button hole’s accomplishment,

praise trash cans so rusted and broken,
they puzzle the garbage man,

praise the water-well dowser’s uncanny walk
as he extends an iron rod or a beach branch:
which ever will most surely remember
the dry land’s hallowed grief.

I praise the woman who thought to embroider
upon an altar cloth both cutwork angels
and Containing within itself all sweetness.

I praise the Calusa Indians of Charlotte Harbor
of whom it has been said: If their hands and noses
were cut off, they took no account of it.

Who can say if the pleasure of acceptance
is better than the power of denial?

O, reader, in the midst of this, our conversation
here in our paper garden, I praise our silences.











On the airplane someone else sleeps

How does this other woman dream
and does it seem
a secret place
of cloud-swept lace?

Where do the roads go down below?
Awake, I know:
in sleep’s ravine
I’d miss this scene.

If it were me how could I sleep
where shadows keep
a path of me
across each tree?



The doubter

Not that you couldn’t reach Him if you tried
(maybe you couldn’t) but that you no longer try.
Your last real prayer? In a plane, beseeching
Him, don’t let me die. How actual He seems at
30 thousand feet, how passionately you love Him
in your hope for solid ground. Not unlike that day
you first felt Him ripping through your heart,
you driving fast, believing you’d foiled gravity,
dendrites of rain flowing up your windshield,
the sting of joy like spearmint in your mouth,
and now how improbable He seems. That Whoever
made the stars would even notice. You! A word
in His mouth? And yet you miss Him. If it
could be true! You think of trying to reach Him,
tell Him you’ve reconsidered.

When we first told you

Gail, remember the boy that broke
his neck on the campus lawn—
just kidding around, turning flips
with his college buddies?
He got his diploma this afternoon
and a standing ovation that had to stop.

When we first told you about this boy,
your face turned lost, you thought
of your own at twenty-one,
somersaulted into a field by a Mack truck.

That was a moment I could love you,
though sons-in-law are poor in love.
That was a moment love lay
languishing before you, bleeding
from a crown of thorns
and once more giving up your ghost.